Resurgent former light heavyweight champion Vitor Belfort will meet Yushin Okami in the UFC 122 main event on Nov. 13 at the Konig Pilsener Arena in Oberhausen, Germany. Still, he has UFC middleweight king Anderson Silva in his sights.
Promised a crack at Silva after he dismantled Rich Franklin at UFC 103 in September 2009, Belfort has instead spent the last year on the sidelines with a shoulder injury. He sees chinks in Silva’s armor.
“I know his whole game,” Belfort said in a recent interview with the Brazilian television station Rede TV. “I know his jiu-jitsu game. I know his stand-up game. I know he likes spinning kicks and loves to use elbows, but if I put my hands on a man, he will fall down.”
“If I hit him like Demian and Sonnen did, it’s going to be different because I have much more firepower,” he said. “Still, a fight is a fight, and we know we’re two well-conditioned champions. The most important thing is to be well-trained and focused on each second of that fight.
“I know Anderson knows that if my hands hit him, he will not be able to stand on his feet,” Belfort added. “No matter who’s on the other side of the cage, whether it’s Anderson or someone else, I’m going forward. If you look at my last fights, you’re going to see how focused I am. I know what I want. I have no doubt about what I want or what I’m able to do, so I’m very motivated.”
Belfort’s first-round technical knockout victory over Franklin at UFC 103 was his first inside the Octagon in more than five years. It was supposed to set up his showdown with Silva for the promotion’s middleweight crown in April, but the aforementioned injury forced Belfort to withdraw. He has lost none of his hunger since.
“I really want this belt,” Belfort said. “I want to face whoever has the belt. Today, it’s Anderson, so I really want to face him. He can’t fight this year, and I won’t wait for him until next year. They gave me a fight [against Okami] in November, and I’m really happy and anxious for that fight.”
Belfort — who has won five consecutive fights, four of them by knockout — also addressed the growing trend in MMA in which friends and teammates have shown a reluctance to fight one another.
“I can’t see MMA as a personal sport,” he said. “I don’t hate anyone, but it’s my job. There are a lot of people who make up fake friendships to avoid fighting someone. If I fight someone, it doesn’t mean we’re enemies. There’s nothing personal in wanting the belt. I have nothing against Anderson, but I want his belt, and we will fight for that.
“If he wins, congratulations to him, but we have to stop this bulls–t with some fighters wanting to solve their problems in the Octagon,” Belfort added. “My problems aren’t inside the Octagon. I solve my problems when I have someone step in there to fight me and we make money as professionals. Fighters have to understand that the more we respect each other the more the fans will admire us and respect our sport.”
Belfort Sees Holes in Silva’s Game
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