10 Things UFC Fans Should Know About Vitor Belfort

Few fighters in mixed martial arts history have been more consistently exciting than “The Phenom” Vitor Belfort. In each of his fights, Belfort is almost guaranteed to do whatever it takes to secure a KO victory.

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For over two decades, Belfort has been a threat in three different weight classes and has fought some of the best fighters in the world ufc and around the world. Belfort’s MMA career has been filled with title fights, memorable knockouts and rivalries. However, his career has also been fraught with controversy. Without a doubt, Belfort had a legendary MMA career filled with moments every fight fan should know.

10 UFC Heavyweight Tournament

Belfort Silva

At the age of 19, Vitor Belfort made his mixed martial arts debut. In just 12 seconds, Belfort won his fight by KO after a barrage of punches.

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With an impressive MMA debut, Belfort was invited to compete in the UFC. At UFC 12, Belfort competed in a one-night four-man heavyweight tournament. With a total fight time of just two minutes, Belfort defeated both of his opponents by technical knockout. Belfort’s tournament win dates back to before the UFC Heavyweight Championship. As the winner of one of the original UFC tournaments, Belfort is entitled to be a former UFC Heavyweight Champion.

9 UFC champion

Vitor Belfort UFC title

At UFC 46 in 2004, Belfort won his first official UFC Championship when he defeated Randy Couture for the UFC Light Heavyweight Championship.

Belfort won the title due to a doctor’s layoff after Couture sustained a cut in his eye. This was the second fight between Belfort and Couture. The two first met at UFC 15 in 1997. That night, Couture handed Belfort his first MMA loss. After losing the light heavyweight title, Couture received an immediate rematch in 2004. At UFC 49, Couture won the fight after the doctor ruled Belfort could not continue after the third round.


8th Run with PRIDE

Vitor Belfort PRIDE

On two separate occasions, Belfort left the UFC to compete in the largest MMA promotion in Japan, the PRIDE Fighting Championship. Belfort took part in PRIDE for the first time in 1999. As a heavyweight contender, Belfort lost his promotion debut to Kazushi Sakuraba. Belfort would win his next four fights with notable heavyweight wins over Gilbert Yvel and Heath Herring.

After returning to the UFC for five fights, Belfort returned to Japan for three more fights. However, his second stint at PRIDE was unsuccessful. He suffered notable losses to Alastair Overeem and Dan Henderson.

7 Biggest winning streak

Victor Belfort
Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports

The biggest win streak of Belfort’s career came after his last fight in PRIDE. After his last fight in Japan, Belfort won back-to-back fights in the Cage Rage promotion in Europe. After these victories, Belfort returned to the United States to fight for the Affliction promotion.

In Affliction, Belfort gained KO wins over Terry Martin and Matt Lindland. Belfort then returned to the UFC. In 2009 at UFC 103, Belfort defeated former UFC Middleweight Champion Rich Franklin. After his fifth straight win, Belfort was presented with an opportunity to contend for the UFC Middleweight Championship.

6 title fights

Jon Jones Vitor Belfort
Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports

After his return to the UFC in 2009, Belfort fought three times for a UFC title. Belfort fought Anderson Silva for the UFC Middleweight Championship at UFC 126 in 2011. Silva defeated Belfort after landing a legendary front kick to the face. After the loss, Belfort won his next two fights to earn a shot at Jon Jones and the UFC Light Heavyweight Championship. At UFC 152, Jones submitted to Belfort in 2012 and retained his championship.

After losing to Jones, Belfort enjoyed one of the most impressive periods of his career, knocking out Michael Bisping, Luke Rockhold and Dan Henderson in back-to-back bouts. As a result, Belfort was given a title shot against Chris Weidman. At UFC 187 in 2015, Weidman defeated Belfort by TKO to retain his title.

5 Dan Henderson trilogy

Dan Henderson Vitor Belfort
Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports

Randy Couture wasn’t the only fighter Belfort fought three times in his career. Belfort also fought Dan Henderson on three separate occasions.

The two first met at PRIDE in 2006. That night, Henderson won a unanimous decision victory. Their second encounter was in the UFC in 2013. Belfort landed a vicious headbutt in their second fight to claim the win. On their third meeting, Belfort won the fight again after a headbutt in 2015.


Belfort weigh
Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Belfort’s MMA career, particularly his final stint in the UFC, has been fraught with controversy due to his use of testosterone replacement therapy (TRT).

RELATED: Vitor Belfort (& 9 Other UFC Fighters Who Uses TRT)

As Belfort got older, he began receiving TRT as his testosterone levels were low. Some skeptics believed that his previous steroid use, which he tested positive after his first fight with Dan Henderson, led to his low testosterone levels. Other skeptics believe that low testosterone is natural in life and Belfort should not have received treatments that help him match the testosterone levels of much younger fighters.

3 MMA retirement

Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports

After winning just one of his last five fights in the UFC, Belfort announced his retirement from the sport. At UFC 224 in 2018, Belfort was again KO’d by former UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Lyoto Machida with a front kick to the face. Befort announced his retirement after the fight.

Before fighting Machida, Belfort won a decision against Nate Marquardt. Before his most recent UFC win, Belfort suffered back-to-back TKO losses to Jacare Souza, Gegard Mousasi and Kelvin Gastelum.

2 boxes

Belfort strike
Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Last year, Belfort faced legendary boxing champion Evander Holyfield in an exhibition boxing match. Belfort originally wanted to fight Oscar De La Hoya, but the boxing legend pulled out of the fight after contacting COVID-19. It would take Belfort less than two minutes to win the fight against Holyfield.

The fight between Belfort and Holyfield was a boxing spectacle. The undercard saw a boxing match between former UFC champions Anderson Silva and Tito Ortiz. The event was also attended by celebrity commentators such as rapper 50 Cent and former US President Donald Trump.

1 ONE championship

Vitor Belfort strike
Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports

Although he has retired from MMA, don’t be surprised if Belfort continues to fight in the future.

Just months after losing to Lyoto Machida and retiring from the sport, Belfort revealed he was interested in returning. In 2019, Belfort signed with ONE Championship and was set to fight. However, the fight did not take place and he parted ways with the promotion without ever competing. At 45 it will be interesting to see what comes next for the MMA legend.


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