I think we can officially stop asking to see "the old Vitor," since the new one would probably kick his ass.
Just ask Luke Rockhold, who was on the receiving end of one of the most spectacular head kick finishes in the history of Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC). In addition, he now replaces Adam Cella as "that guy who got KTFO with that kick."
Vitor Belfort (23-10) defeated the former Strikeforce middleweight champion in the main event of UFC on FX 8, which took place on Saturday night (May 18, 2013) from Arena Jaragua in Santa Catarina, Brazil. It was his second straight victory by way of bonus-winning head kick in front of his fellow countrymen.
And his second straight fight after being outed for testosterone replacement therapy (TRT).
Expect his use of the controversial drug to be at the forefront of every Belfort conversation moving forward, as the promotion begins to position him as the next challenger for the 185-pound title, contested between Anderson Silva vs. Chris Weidman at UFC 162 over this Fourth of July Weekend (July 6, 2013) in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Like it or not, "The Phenom" is the new division number one contender.
His first trip to the promised land did not end favorably. Silva did some kicking of his own in the opening frame and Belfort went down like a sack of yukon golds at UFC 126. Since that defeat -- his only loss at middleweight -- he's compiled a 4-1 record, sandwiching a pair of wins around a short notice submission to Jon Jones at light heavyweight.
Whether or not he's earned another crack at the crown is probably irrelevant at this point.
Belfort is the beneficiary of a weak division. The "official" UFC rankings (see them here) have him in "the mix" with Michael Bisping and Yushin Okami. "The Count" was counted out earlier this year by the new-look Brazilian and "Thunder" is about as exciting as those tests from the Emergency Broadcast System. Behind them is, or was, Rockhold.
If you're only as good as your last fight, well, then Belfort is about as good as it gets at 185 pounds.
If Silva is able to defend his strap against the "All American," I wouldn't be surprised to see him stall as Jon Jones continues to heal his mangled toe, while UFC President Dana White chases his top two stars for the "super fight" that will never happen.
However, if Weidman upsets "The Spider," I would fully expect to see him fight "The Phenom" later this year.
While that mess gets sorted out, we can have Okami, who to his credit is the winner of three straight, including victories over Alan Belcher and Hector Lombard, bang it out with the promotion's new middleweight darling, Ronaldo Souza, who also won in spectacular fashion on Saturday night.
There are so many new potential match-ups right now for this division, I'm on pins and needles.
For more results and fallout from Saturday night's UFC on FX 8 event in Brazil, including results, videos, play-by-play, reactions and more, check out our live "Belfort vs. Rockhold" story stream by clicking here.