Vitor Belfort Fightography now available on UFC Fight Pass
The young Belfort was as quick a study at Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu as he was with his fists, and by age 18 he was begging Gracie to take him to the UFC to compete.
He remembers: “I was saying “If I go now, I will be world champion. I will beat all these guys. We need to go to the UFC now’ but Carlson would shake his head ‘Yes, but you are too young, only 18, we go later’ but I wanted to fight.”
Carlson Gracie knew that the UFC would be unlikely to give an untested 18-year-old, who weighed around 25lbs less than most heavyweights, a spot on their next tournament. So the elder statesman of BJJ hatched a plan.
“We accepted a fight with a guy no one wanted to fight,” Belfort recalled. “His name was Jon Hess. He was dirty, he would kick in the balls, eye-gouge, bite, and he was 6ft 7, a giant. He was actually banned after one fight in the UFC (vs Andy Anderson at UFC 5), he was so dirty. I fought Hess at an event called Superbrawl in Hawaii. Just 18. Beating him was my ticket to the UFC.”
The full story of the Hess fight, and Belfort’s entry into the UFC 12 heavyweight tournament can be seen now on UFC FIGHT PASS.
View the trailer here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TU8nBqFgVb0