Jon Jones vs. Vitor Belfort: Is It Time for Belfort to Retire?

Joe ChaconContributor IIISeptember 23, 2012

September 22, 2012; Toronto, ON, CANADA; Vitor Belfort (bottom) battles Jon Jones in the light heavyweight championship during UFC 152 at the Air Canada Centre. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-US PRESSWIRE
Tom Szczerbowski-US PRESSWIRE

I'd have to imagine that in homes and bars across the world, people were yelling something to the effect of, "Oh! He's got him! He's got him!" when Vitor Belfort latched onto a serious armbar early in the first round against Jon Jones on Saturday night.

"The Phenom" didn't look phenomenal against the light heavyweight champion, but as Lee Corso would say, it was closer than the experts thought. Especially early on.

Many writers and fans expected Jones to dismantle Belfort fairly easily, and I guess in some respects he did. Aside from the first couple of minutes, the fight was never in doubt, and he eventually wore down Belfort on the way to his fourth-round submission victory.

That's precisely why I believe Belfort still has a few years left in him. He isn't somebody who you'd expect to come into the Octagon and get dropped by a single punch to the chin.

He hasn't been too successful since his return to the UFC in 2009 (3-2), but those two losses have come against Anderson Silva and now Jones. 

I think we can all sense when I guy should call it a career. We saw Chuck Liddell's chin fail him during his demise and knew his time was up. Tito Ortiz could never seem to put together consecutive wins during the final five years of his career and fans could see the sport passing him by.

The same can be said for Rampage Jackson and Forrest Griffin. Generally speaking, I think we have a pretty good gauge when it comes to feeling if a fighter should retire or not.

Belfort did enough against the champion to give confidence to himself and his fans that he can compete at a high level. We may never see UFC gold wrapped around Belfort's waist again, but he's still a fighter who can compete with some of the best fighters the UFC has to offer.

At the age of 35, Belfort still has the heart, skill-set and chin to be competitive in his fights. If he comes out and loses again in his next fight, then we may start to hear more musings of him riding off into the sunset and calling it a career.


Joe Chacon is a featured columnist for Bleacher Report and a staff writer for Operation Sports. You can follow him on Twitter @JoeChacon.