In an interview just a few days ago Jon Jones made a quote that I am having hard time agreeing with, no matter how great the young champions short career has been. Jones said:
“Me and Vitor Belfort are from different generations of fighting. I really believe that in my short career, I’ve already fought a lot tougher opponents than he has. I feel like I’ve had more championship caliber fights than he has.”
Granted I have said it many times in the past, the current run Jon Jones is on is truly remarkable. He has beaten 4 straight former UFC light heavyweight champions. They were in order, Mauricio “Shogun” Rua, Quinton “Rampage” Jackson, Lyoto “The Dragon” Machida, and “Sugar” Rashad Evans. He even more impressively finished 3 out of the 4 and his unanimous decision win over Rashad Evans was pretty dominant to say the least. Now he is facing another former UFC light heavyweight champion in Vitor Belfort to try to extend the streak to five. I am not taking anything away from that streak at all, but to say he has fought a lot tougher competition than Belfort sounds a little naive to me.
Over Vitor Belfort’s almost 16 year career he has fought a true who’s who list of UFC and MMA legends, hall of famers, and future hall of famers.
- Starting in 1997 he TKO’d Tank Abbott at UFC 13. Abbott is not a HOF but was one of the early pioneers of the sport who had deadly punching power.
- He fought UFC HOF Randy Couture 3 times. At UFC 15 and UFC 46, and UFC 49. Couture won the trilogy 2-1 with all fights resulting in TKO’s.
- He TKO’d Wanderlei Silva at UFC Brazil.
- Belfort lost a decision to Japanese legend Kazushi Sakuraba at Pride 5.
- He lost to UFC HOF Chuck Liddell by decision at UFC 37.
- Vitor lost to UFC HOF Tito Ortiz by decision at UFC 51.
- Was submitted by former K1, Dream, and Strikeforce heavyweight champion Alistair Overeem at Pride: Total elimination 2005. Also lost to Overeem in 2006 by decision at Strikeforce: Revenge.
- Lost a decision to future HOF Dan Henderson at Pride 32.
- Belfort TKO’d possible future UFC HOF Rich Franklin at UFC 103
- Was KO’d by future UFC HOF Anderson Silva at UFC 126.
Now I know the majority of those fights resulted in losses for Belfort, and his fight with Jones will most likely end that way too but to say you have fought a lot tougher competition than Belfort is simply wrong in my opinion. I give Belfort credit for moving back up to 205 to take this fight on short notice but to pull off an upset in this fight he will have to channel all that big fight experience and reach down deep and land that perfect left hand to the chin of Jones and if he rattles his cage try to go in for the kill. Crazier things have happened in this sport.