MMA has given rise to many legendary fighters, and Vitor Belfort, known as “The Phenom,” certainly stands among them. Despite his name recognition, there are a number of things about Belfort most people don’t know. Let’s change that with this list below.
At the youthful age of 19, Vitor Belfort burst onto the UFC scene at UFC 12. This event was particularly unique because it split fighters into two weight classes, heavyweight and lightweight, which was a first for the promotion. Vitor competed as a heavyweight and was a clear standout, defeating both Tra Telligman and Scott Ferrozzo in the same night!
These victories marked his explosive entry into the MMA world, showcasing a blend of speed, power, and technique that few had witnessed before from such a young competitor.
Belfort’s hands aren’t just products of MMA training. He has a strong boxing background and was even considered as a potential opponent for boxing legend Roy Jones Jr. in a crossover bout. He did however get to enter the squared circle and face off against Jacare Souza at Gamebred Boxing 4 in 2023.
The Family Connection
Vitor’s life outside the octagon took a tragic turn in 2004 when his sister, Priscila Belfort, disappeared. The devastating event left the Belfort family heartbroken, and Vitor often used his platform to raise awareness about her disappearance. While the details surrounding her disappearance remain unclear, Belfort has always maintained hope of finding answers.
To honor her memory and create a positive impact, he’s been deeply involved in campaigns against human trafficking and has supported organizations working towards the same cause.
Vitor was one of the first MMA fighters to cross-train in different disciplines. He’s trained with the Gracie family for Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and also honed his boxing skills in the U.S.
A Changing Landscape
Belfort has fought in three different weight classes: Heavyweight, Light Heavyweight, and Middleweight, proving his versatility as a fighter.
One of Belfort’s most iconic knockouts came against Wanderlei Silva in 1998, where he landed a series of punches in just 44 seconds, establishing himself as one of the sport’s premier strikers.
Rock ‘n’ Roll Connection
Vitor’s choice of the entrance song, “Livin’ On A Prayer” by Bon Jovi, is more than just an adrenaline-pumping track to set the mood. The song holds significant sentimental value to him, mirroring his personal struggles, triumphs, and resilient spirit. His walkouts became emblematic of the highs and lows of a fighter’s journey. With its powerful chorus and message of hope in the face of adversity, the song became synonymous with Belfort’s appearances in the octagon. Fans often sang along, creating an electric atmosphere that exemplified the spirit of MMA.
Over his career, Belfort has faced a who’s who of MMA royalty, including Anderson Silva, Jon Jones, and Randy Couture, giving fans some of the most memorable bouts in MMA history.
Beyond his impressive fighting career, Vitor has shown a keen interest in entrepreneurship, channeling the same dedication he displayed in the cage. Post-retirement, he opened the Belfort Fitness Lifestyle gym in Boca Raton, Florida, aiming to offer a unique fitness experience.
His vision was to blend the training intensity of MMA with routines suitable for the general public. The establishment has since become a popular fitness hub, reflecting Vitor’s commitment to health, fitness, and community-building. He has expressed hopes of expanding this venture, possibly signaling the beginning of a fitness franchise.
Faith and Combat
Belfort is a devout Christian, and his faith has played a significant role in his career. He often references his beliefs in interviews and sees his fighting prowess as a gift from above.
There you have it, ten lesser-known facts about “The Phenom” Vitor Belfort. From the highs of his career to the tragedies off the octagon, Belfort’s journey is a testament to resilience and determination.