ONE Last Dance For Vitor Belfort
In May of 1996, Vitor ‘The Phenom’ Belfort served the heavy-handed (and big-bellied) Tank Abbot a devastating TKO loss, after pounding him flat into the canvas. Two and a half years later, a chain-punching Belfort launched a young Wanderlei Silva across the Octagon. Other career highlight moments from his UFC days include the deep armbar he locked onto Jon Jones in the first round of their championship fight, and the spinning wheel kick he planted on the head of Luke Rockhold.
The news that Belfort signed with ONE Championship last year was exciting news for the combat sports world. Making the headlines even more titillating is the fact that his opponent is set to be former kickboxer, Alain Ngalani.
Speaking with MMA Mania, ‘The Phenom’ opened up on what he has been calling his ‘last dance.’
“We call it ‘The Last Dance,’ so I am on my last dance for sure,” Vitor explained. “We’re going to make that last dance last long. I’m looking forward to making it happen. I’m reinventing myself for the last time in action. I’ll always be participating to help this sport. I’ll be involved and I love business.”
In addition to well-laid plans for his ONE debut, Vitor had a wealth of ideas for improving, growing, and changing the sport of MMA more broadly.
“I see so many things we need to change,” Belfort said. “I can be involved with the MMA in Olympics one day. It’s going to demand guys with vision who can see the future. I think I can see the future. When I was 16-years-old, I saw that MMA would be the biggest sport in the world. It is.”
The match-up between Belfort and Ngalini has not yet been given a date; however, the rule set for the fight will reportedly be a hybrid of kickboxing and mixed martial arts. Interestingly, this may allow Vitor to once again dawn his trademark black wrestling shoes.
“If you can make something where you can have shoes in the ring, you can really bring major sponsors,” Belfort explained. “I think something that has been lacking in MMA is… we just need to do something new.”
Belfort also drew a lot of inspiration from a recent conversation he had with wrestler and actor Dave Bautista via Instagram Live. Bautista’s reinvented career seems to be informing or at least inspiring Vitor’s next move.
“It was amazing. Just knowing what that man went through. Seeing his struggles and being broke at 30-years-old. He got to go out and reinvent himself again,” Belfort said. “You can tell he is very positive and looking to do good and share. That’s the message. That’s what we wanted to do.”
Do you think Vitor Belfort will beat Alain Ngalani in his ONE Championship debut?