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ONE Championship signs former UFC Champion Vitor Belfort

Belfort will be returning to MMA for the first time since retiring after UFC 224 in 2018.

Looking to make a true impact in the United States, ONE Championship has added another UFC veteran to their roster. Vitor Belfort has agreed to join the organization’s roster. ESPN”s Ariel Helwani was the first to report the signing, which has been a heavy rumor the past few days.

One of the most recognizable names in combat sports history, Belfort (26-14, 1NC) is a former UFC Light Heavyweight Champion and UFC 12 Heavyweight Tournament winner. Belfort has fought between PRIDE, Strikeforce and the UFC since 1997, at one point beating a who’s of fighters, including Randy Couture, Wanderlei Silva, Dan Henderson, Luke Rockhold and Michael Bisping.

“It is with great pleasure and honor that I welcome Vitor Belfort into the ONE Championship family,” stated ONE Championship Chairman and CEO Chatri Sityodtong. “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. I cannot wait to see his explosive power and his exciting knockout finishes inside the ONE cage.”

Belfort’s latest run in the UFC was one he would like to forget; going 2-3 in his last six fights with one no-contest. He actually announced his retirement following a KO loss to Lyoto Machida at UFC 224. The itch to fight again became too strong for Belfort, thus coming back for one last run.

One of the key things to look out for is ONE’s policy regarding drug tests. “The Phenom”  has failed twice while with the UFC and PRIDE. He was recently the subject of testosterone replacement therapy (TRT), which has since been banned by USADA. Whether he is clean or not, Belfort will work on staying in shape for what could be his final run.

The Brazilian will be turning 42 in April, thus making him one of the older signings ONE has picked up. He joins other former UFC fighters like Eddie Alvarez, Demetrious Johnson, Miesha Tate and Sage Northcutt. Currently recovering from shoulder surgery, Belfort has made it known that he would like to fight (whether an MMA or boxing one) in September or August. It is unknown who his opponent will be in his ONE debut.

Are you excited about Vitor Belfort’s return to MMA?

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Baseball Editor, Misc. Sports Editor. Covers all things combat sports (MMA, Pro Wrestling and Boxing). When he's not writing, Daniel hosts a podcast, The Main Event.
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