After Saturday night's display of accuracy, and power, there is no question that Vitor Belfort really is a phenom. His vicious, spinning kick knockout of Luke Rockhold was reminiscent of his recent win over Michael Bisping, and one can't help but dredge up memories of that young lion that was cutting a path of destruction across the early days of the sport.
With his victory following up the wins of Danillo Villefort and Anthony Johnson, the so called 'Blackzilian curse' seems to be showing signs of fading away. Team owner, Glenn Robinson recently made several coaching additions and changes to the staff, and by the looks of things, the adjustments seem to be working.
I spoke to Glenn immediately following the event, and he provided some insight to Belfort's amazing transformation and what may be next for him, and states that without a doubt, the Blackzilians are back on track. Here's what he had to say:
Vitor's Work Ethic
People don't really understand TRT, so they like to make a lot of statements and claims. The truth of the matter is that Vitor has been skilled for as long as he's been in the sport, and TRT didn't make his feet do that spinning kick. TRT doesn't give him his work ethic. TRT doesn't give him his mindset. TRT doesn't give him his coordination. TRT doesn't give him who he is as a fighter.
This is like a rebirth for him. It's a rebirth for his career and for him as a person. This is the best he's looked in years, and when you see him in the gym, you can see why. If you saw him train, there would be no questions asked. The man's work ethic is just tremendous.
He's in the gym 2-3 times a day, and even trains on Sundays. He's dedicated and he gives up his entire life for his camp. Where other people sneak a little food or go out here and there, Vitor doesn't. He shuts off everything in his life except family and training for his entire camp. That's all he does. He dedicates himself like no one I have ever seen before. It's just truly amazing and TRT isn't responsible for any of that.
Possible Plans for Belfort
I don't know what's been discussed in the last hour, but I do know that Vitor didn't want to look past this fight. He didn't want to take Luke Rockhold for granted, so a title shot really has not been part of the discussions thus far. It is obviously his goal to be the champion again, and when the timing is right, he'll be in there again.
If Anderson wins this fight with Weidman, you don't know how long he's going to take off, so if he takes off six more months, I seriously doubt Vitor is going to want to wait that long for another fight. It's really hard to say what the next fight is going to be for him.
Speaking just for myself, that would make for an interesting fight. Rashad and I were talking about that earlier, while we were watching the fight. Vitor's jiu jitsu is insane and so is Jacare's. This is me talking as myself, and not on behalf of Vitor. He's just not a person to sit idle. He's not going to want to wait 6-9 months for a fight.
I think we'll have to wait to see how things are going to fall out over the next couple months. Anything is possible right now. If he and Jacare ever did fight, it would be an interesting one. I take nothing away from Jacare, but I think Vitor would beat him. He's in the zone right now and I think he's very hard to beat.
Blackzilian Coaching Team
So far, I'm very happy with the changes. Jake Bonacci has been an incredible strength and conditioning coach and he has worked really hard with Vitor. He's put a lot of time and effort into getting him into shape. At the end of five rounds of sparring, Vitor is ready to do another five. His conditioning is just crazy. Watching him train on the Versaflex or his Airdyne is just amazing. Jake was certainly able to bring a lot to the table.
Coach Kenny Monday, well his record speaks for itself. He worked very closely with Vitor. This was Kenny's first fight as a Blackzilian corner, so I know he's very happy right now.
Henri Hooft has proven himself over and over again. The man is absolutely fantastic. He proves himself all the time.
Pedro Diaz coming to our camp has been an enormous addition. Hand speed and coordination - the man has tricks for coordination in training that I have never seen before. He brought all new elements into the game and into the training camp. He was a really big addition to the team and a really big part of the camp.
I'm pretty happy with what I see from the coaches and trainers. Not just with Vitor, but with everyone else, too. Thiago Silva looks great. Rashad Evans looks tremendous. He always looks great, but this is the best I've seen him look in a long, long time. Everyone looks great.
In terms of the Blackzilian curse that everyone has been talking about, you see those people talking about it going backwards now [laughs]. You've got Vitor, Anthony Johnson, Tyrone Spong, and Danillo Villeforte all coming off wins. Everything is starting to gel now. The fighters are putting in the time and it's really coming together. We're back.
You can follow Glenn via his Twitter account @GlennAuthentic
Here is a video of Vitor's pro debut at Superbrawl 2 which serves as a reminder of the ferocity with which he fights. My apologies for the video quality, but it is from 1996. Enjoy!