Both fighters approached the fight like a chess match, with the pace slow and calculated in the opening round.
Machida would fire off some solid low kicks before switching his stance and then promptly landing a sensational front kick to the face of Belfort.
However, when taking on fellow Brazilian Lyoto Machida in Rio de Janeiro on Saturday night at the UFC 224 event, The Phenom perhaps didn't envisage his career ending with a attractive crane kick from The Dragon which saw him suffer a brutal knockout loss that had fans reminiscing about two memorable fights from their careers. Machida realised this and showed unreal restraint not to follow up with ground and pound.
He went on to claim the UFC light-heavyweight title in the second of his three fights opposite Couture, but would relinquish the title to the American seven months later. Nearly identical to Anderson Silva's knockout over Belfort.More news: Businesses reap benefits of last-minute Mother's Day shoppers
The former champion, who has fought off and on in the UFC since winning the UFC 12 heavyweight tournament as a 19-year-old in 1997, took on another Brazilian fighting legend in Lyoto Machida.
After becoming alert, Belfort left his gloves on the mat as a sign that he was done.
"I want to thank my team". And I think I've come to the end. I would like to fight Michael Bisping. I'm ok. I think everything in life has a beginning middle and end.
"First of all, congratulations to Machida's team, they fought pretty well", he said.