The Phenom That Is Old Vitor

Travis AtkinsonContributor IFebruary 10, 2009

Vitor Belfort came to the United States at the age of 19 to begin his mixed martial arts career. He faced Jon Hess at a Super Bowl event, knocking him out in only 12 seconds.

From there he was signed by the UFC, winning the UFC 12 heavyweight tournament. He was then scheduled to face David "Tank" Abbott in a super fight. Vitor TKO'ed him easily.

He then suffered his first loss, to Randy Couture in 1997. He would finish his UFC contract, arm baring Joe Charles, and knocking out Wanderlei Silva.

Vitor was then signed by Pride Fighting Championship, a major MMA promotion in Japan. His first opponent was Kazushi Sakuraba. Vitor lost via decision, however rebounded with four straight victories.

Vitor was back on his way to the UFC and he was fighting top contender Chuck Liddell. Vitor yet again dropped a decision loss. Since then Vitor went 2-2 in the UFC, capturing the light heavyweight title in the process.

Returning to Pride, Vitor lost another decision to Dan Henderson. After the fight Belfort tested positive for a banned substance, four-hydroxytestosterone and was suspended for nine months.

Vitor made his return to MMA with a TKO win over Ivan Serati at Cage Rage 21 in April.  He then won the cage rage title when he defeated James Zikic via decision.

He has since returned to the states with two devastating knockout wins over Terry Martin and Matt Lindland, under the Affliction banner.

There has always been the talk before one of Belfort's fights on whether or not we would see the old Vitor. If you look at who he has fought, he has only lost to top fighters such as Liddell, Couture, Ortiz, Sakuraba and Overeem.

He has always been the guy with devastating power and amazing hand speed, but if you can control him in the clinch, you most likely will win. He is also very mentally strong, contrary to popular belief. He fought Randy Couture the second time after finding out that his sister had been kidnapped.

So next time Vitor steps in the cage or ring don't start the debate on who we will see, just be prepared to witness an amazing athlete who has the potential to knock out anyone.