Jon Jones vs. Vitor Belfort: What the Loss Means for Belfort's Career

Dan Hiergesell@DHiergesellFeatured ColumnistSeptember 23, 2012

Vitor Belfort will always be known as "The Phenom".

His legacy within the sport of mixed martial arts will forever be remembered.

From debuting in the UFC at the young age of 19 to fighting some of the greatest names in MMA history, Belfort has nothing to prove.

His striking is world-class and his natural ability to pounce on injured opponents is vastly admirable.

But, as it is for any fighter coming off defeat, what does Belfort's recent loss to Jon Jones at UFC 152 mean for his career going forward?

It depends.

When you look at who he just lost to and the fact that he took the fight on short notice within a heavier weight class, Belfort's inability to attack Jones doesn't look so bad.

Not for nothing is "Bones" is regarded as the best fighter in the world.  To take him on short notice with half a camp is beyond crazy.

As for the fight itself, Belfort performed the way people expected him to.  He tried to throw leather in hopes of catching Jones off guard, but like the light heavyweight champion has proved over the past few years, that's easier said than done.

The fact of the matter is that Belfort was unable to close the distance on a bigger, stronger and more versatile striker.  He was unable to contend with Jones' demoralizing kicks, elbows and success on the ground.


All in all, the title contender looked his part as a contender.

But how far should we go in criticizing Belfort's performance against the consensus No. 1 guy on the planet?

Truthfully, not far at all.

The bottom line is that Belfort doesn't even fight in Jones' weight class.  He's naturally a middleweight and will naturally fight at 185 pounds heading into the future.

It's also important to realize what kind of fighter Jones truly is.  What he did to Belfort Saturday night, he does to every guy the UFC throws in front of him.  If every fighter he destroys calls it quits or didn't rebound, the division would be a one-man show (even though it kind of is).

Dana White, Joe Silva and every UFC fan needs to understand how big of an asset Belfort is to the promotion.  He stepped up and fought a guy that other No. 1 contenders in the division didn't want any part of.

Belfort shouldn't be ridiculed for his loss, he should be praised for saving a PPV otherwise built around a flyweight title bout.

Not for nothing did he almost submit Jones in the first round. 

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