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It doesn’t look like former UFC light heavyweight champion Vitor Belfort intends to give up his boxing career in the near future. The ‘Phenom’ returned to action this last Saturday, taking on fellow former UFC veteran Jacare Souza in the co-main event of Gamebred Boxing 4. The card also featured Jose Aldo’s return to the ring against Jeremy Stephens as well as a main event between Anthony ‘Showtime’ Pettis and Roy Jones Jr.
Belfort couldn’t get the stoppage win over Jacare, despite scoring multiple knockdowns in the bout. Still the performance was enough to earn a clear unanimous decision. The match marked Belfort’s first return to action since picking up a (thankfully) swift TKO victory over Evander Holyfield in a 2021 exhibition bout for Triller. Following the win over Jacare, the ‘Phenom’ was quick to make his interest clear in potential bouts against a couple other notable celebrity boxing opponents.
At the event’s post-fight press conference (transcript via Super Lutas), the 46-year-old mentioned that he had hoped to face the night’s headliner, Roy Jones Jr, himself. However, since ‘Showtime’ won that bout, Vitor Belfort has turned his attention to a match against the former UFC lightweight champion. If Pettis isn’t interested, then the Brazilian also expressed his wish to take on YouTube sensation Jake Paul.
Vitor Belfort says he should have headlined Gamebred Boxing 4
“I should’ve fought Roy Jones Jr. in the main event, not Pettis. It was supposed to be two legendary guys, but they put Pettis there,” Belfort complained. “Now I have an offer for Gamebred. Let’s go to Florida. I was hoping to face Roy, but Pettis won. So let’s make that fight in Florida. Me and Pettis. No excuses,”
“If not Pettis, bring on Jake Paul. He’s coming off a loss, I’ll take him. I can fight Jake Paul and become his dad.”
Belfort may just be on to something with his callout of Jake Paul. The younger of the celebrity boxing duo is coming fresh off the first loss of his professional career, a split decision defeat at the hands of Tommy Fury, younger brother to heavyweight legend Tyson Fury. That bout brought Paul’s record to 6-1, having taken his first pro bout in 2020.
The Paul brothers are hunting Nate Diaz
Both Jake and Logan Paul have been targeting boxing bouts against former UFC title contender Nate Diaz for sometime this year. Jake announced back in February, before his loss, that he’d like to fight Diaz sometime in the summer. In a recent interview with ESPN, Logan revealed that he had thought that a bout between Diaz and himself was more or less a done deal, but that negotiations had fallen through at the 11th hour.
Nick and Nate Diaz have a long history of being elusive talents when it comes to putting together big fights, with a history of no-showing media events and walking away from the bargaining table when terms don’t suit their expectations. Meanwhile, Jake Paul especially has been notable for something of a ‘take it or leave it’ approach to negotiating with MMA talent looking to take him on inside the ring. It just might be that hammering out a deal will prove more difficult than expected, and leave Vitor Belfort as an enticing replacement option.
The win over Jacare marks Belfort’s first official boxing victory since a match won in 2006 against Josemario Neves. The multiple time UFC title contender (and former UFC 12 tournament winner) picked up his victory over Holyfield back in September 2021, but that bout was an unsanctioned exhibition. Belfort officially retired from MMA after a knockout loss to Lyoto Machida, in May 2018. A brief contract stint with ONE Championship never resulted in an actual appearance in fight for the promotion.
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