ONE Championship announced on March 1, 2019 that Brazilian mixed martial arts legend Vitor “The Phenom” Belfort just signed with the promotion. Hailing from Rio De Janeiro, Brazil, he is one of the most popular MMA fighters to ever come out of his home country.
“I have been in this sport since I was 19 years old and have been fortunate enough to witness its growth and evolution firsthand,” Belfort stated. “I am grateful to so many for this incredible opportunity. First of all, I would like to thank my wife Joana and my children, Davi, Victoria and Kyara for their infinite love and support.”
A Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt under the legendary Carlson Gracie, Belfort became one of the earliest stars of the sport, making his professional debut in 1996. In a career that has spanned over two decades and 41 professional bouts, he has become a Heavyweight Tournament Champion, a Light Heavyweight World Champion in two different organizations, and a perennial top contender in the middleweight and light heavyweight divisions.
“My management, Lloyd Pierson and Ballengee Group guided me through this process with unmatched expertise,” Belfort said. “I would like to of course thank Chatri Sityodtong and ONE Championship, who gave me this great honor to fight in front of the Asian audience. ONE Championship is the home of martial arts and I plan to become a ONE World Champion in front of some of the best martial arts fans in the world.”
While Belfort is traditionally trained as a grappler, it was his lightning-fast hands and devastating knockout power that brought him undeniable success in his mixed martial arts career. Over the years, he has collected a remarkable 18 wins via knockout in his 26 professional career victories.
“It is with great pleasure and honor that I welcome Vitor Belfort into the ONE Championship family,” ONE Championship chairman and CEO Chatri Sityodtong stated. “Vitor is hands down, one of the biggest names in mixed martial arts. He is a legend across the world, and we are thrilled to have him as ONE expands into South America.”
“A World Champion in multiple weight divisions, Vitor is a massive addition to our ever-growing roster of ONE Championship elite athletes,” Chatri added. “I cannot wait to see his explosive power and his exciting knockout finishes inside the ONE cage.”
A bonafide legend in the sport, Belfort has notable victories over the likes of Randy Couture, Wanderlei Silva, Rich Franklin, Michael Bisping, Luke Rockhold, and Dan Henderson, twice. Having faced other big-name stars such as Anderson Silva, Jon Jones, Chuck Liddell, Tito Ortiz and Lyoto Machida, among others, Belfort now looks to continue his legendary career with ONE Championship.