Vitor “The Phenom” Belfort wants to give martial arts fans something they have never seen before in his ONE Championship debut.
When the mixed martial arts legend signed with The Home Of Martial Arts last month, talk immediately turned to who he would face in the cage first.
The Brazilian has no shortage of options in the world’s largest martial arts organization’s middleweight, light heavyweight, and heavyweight divisions, but he has set his sights on something different entirely.
LIVE FROM THAILAND Legendary superstar Vitor "The Phenom" Belfort discusses his decision to join ONE Championship, his future goals, and more!
Posted by ONE Championship on Wednesday, April 3, 2019
Speaking at the ONE Elite Retreat in Phuket, Thailand, Belfort said the prospect of facing one of the best boxers of all time, Roy Jones Jr., was at the forefront of his mind.
“I want to bring something new, and something that will grab people’s attention, and that’s what ONE does. We’re disrupting this industry,” he said.
“A fight I really want, and he accepted, is Roy Jones Jr. He is a legend – like the Michael Jordan of boxing.
“When I thought about that, I thought it was a fight that would make the world stop. I want to create this fight with Roy – putting together the world of martial arts and boxing. We’re going to even the field, and we’re going to make it.”
If “The Phenom” gets his way, the match will take place under special rules that will allow ‘dirty boxing’ in the clinch, as well as spinning strikes.
Though he has stepped into the ring to box once before, Jones Jr. has almost 30 years of professional experience, and the Brazilian believes the modified regulations will favor both athletes. He is confident his rival will agree, and a deal can be made to bring the bout to Asia in 2019.
Vitor "The Phenom" Belfort vs. Roy Jones Jr.Legend vs. Legend.You in?Download the ONE Super App now http://bit.ly/ONESuperApp
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During his interview, Belfort also revealed some of the reasons why he chose to make ONE his home.
“I flew out to Singapore, I met Chatri [Sityodtong, ONE Chairman and CEO], I met the team, and I understood the identity of ONE and what it represents. I had many options, but I stuck with ONE,” he explained.
The former UFC World Champion added that he identified with the way ONE treats both its athletes and fans, and the values it promotes.
He has also found common ground with some of the athletes on the roster he has managed to train with so far during his short time with the company.
“I trained with Aung La [N Sang] and got to know his story, his humility. These guys are heroes,” “The Phenom” said.
“Here at ONE Championship, we have a mission, we have a vision, and we stick with that mission.”
He also expressed his desire to connect with the Asian community. Belfort’s iconic career has seen him compete on four continents, but it has been almost 13 years since he pulled on his gloves in the East.
That is something he is excited to experience again when he finally steps under the lights later in 2019.