Former UFC light heavyweight champion, Vitor ‘The Phenom’ Belfort is regarded as one of the most ferocious mixed martial artists of all-time, and a real pioneer of the sport in his native Brazil. An incredible twenty-four-year veteran, Belfort, who is still waiting on his ONE Championship debut outing gave his thoughts on the ever-evolving conversation of the sport’s greatest of all time.
Belfort, 43, put pen to paper on a deal to link up with Chatri Sityodtong’s Singapore-based promotion, ONE Championship, and while a debut matchup with fellow heavy hitter, Alain Ngalani was floated in April of this year, the pairing has yet to be nailed down by the promotion.
One of the most devastating finishers in the sport’s antiquity, Belfort has notched a staggering eighteen knockout victories from twenty-six professional wins, competing for undisputed UFC gold in both the light heavyweight and middleweight division on four separate occasions.
Poised for a return to mixed martial arts for the first time since May of 2018, Belfort spoke with Jordan Ellis from LowKick MMA where he gave his thoughts on the constant discussion of whom is the greatest mixed martial artist of time — detailing how the modern generation has a different way of valuing some of the sport’s greats.
“So it’s like depending on how you see a G.O.A.T. and how you see the legend — how you see values,” Belfort said. “It’s like this, people value things differently. It’s so crazy, the values of today is so worthless. The Tik Tok generation value more followers than and how much followers you have on Instagram than how much people really follow you. So, people, they are more successful with how much (sic) like they have on a post than how much like they have from their personal friends, and from their personal family.“
Giving his opinion on who could possibly end up sitting at the top of the pile, Belfort noted the likes of Jon Jones, Georges St-Pierre, Khabib Nurmagomedov, and Henry Cejudo — detailing how each of them has an argument to G.O.A.T. status on their own merits.
“Speaking about [the] value of G.O.A.T. for me is like when I’m gonna value a legend, a G.O.A.T., the best, it’s not just how many wins,” Belfort said. “[It’s] how many times he overcame something, how many times that person turned it. So — no doubt about it, Jon Jones is one on the top of the list, we have Georges St-Pierre, we have the Russian, you know, Khabib (Nurmagomedov), you have — you have so many guys on the list.“
“You have Henry Cejudo, you have so many,” Belfort said. “It’s such a unique sport that is so many divisions, so many champions. You have Dominick Cruz, you know — guys that overcame problems, trials [and tribulations], they went down and they reinvent themselves and they went back again. Maybe they never became a champion, but they are so good, you know like the Diaz brothers (Nick and Nate Diaz). People that never had a chance to win a title but they are very good contenders and they are right there on the top.
From Belfort’s stunning eighteen professional knockout wins, the Rio de Janeiro striker has scored memorable victories over the likes of Wanderlei Silva, Marvin Eastman, Randy Couture, Matt Lindland, Rich Franklin, Anthony Johnson, Michael Bisping, Luke Rockhold, and Dan Henderson (x2).