The on-again, off-again UFC middleweight title clash between champion Anderson Silva and Vitor Belfort is currently pegged for April. The champion recently underwent elbow surgery and is slowly recovering and returning to training.
When Belfort was asked about the upcoming bout with Silva last October by Ariel Helwani of Fanhouse.com, he surprisingly stated that he felt that Nate Marquardt deserved the fight more than he did.
“I didn’t look for the fight,” he stated. “Actually, I’d like to have a couple more fights… Nate Marquardt deserves the fight.” He further explained, “I didn’t call the fight. I’m just an employee.”
Belfort’s trainer, Shawn Tompkins, told Ray Flores of FightLine.com last month that Belfort was misquoted and openly welcomed a bout with “The Spider”.
“First and foremost, I want everyone to know at home that Vitor Belfort isn’t scared of Anderson Silva, he wants that fight,” said Tompkins. “He was misquoted. Anyone that has spent any time around Vitor understands that the way he releases the English language isn’t that great yet. What he was trying to say is that he doesn’t want to pick a fight with Anderson Silva. He’s trying to seal his legacy and become the world champion, whether it’s Anderson Silva or anybody else in the division, it doesn’t matter to him. That’s really what he’s trying to say.”
Silva had expressed his discontent of Belfort’s willingness to fight him even though they once were training partners, going so far as to call Belfort “lost”. Tompkins noted that Belfort wanting the fight was strictly business.
“Him and Anderson at one time were great friends and I think will continue to be friends,” he explained. “But he’s just trying to make sure that everyone realizes that it’s not personal.
“The problem with this sport is people try to make it too personal,” Tompkins continued. “It’s a business, and for a guy that is as professional as Vitor Belfort, he wants to make sure that it stays like that. And the fact that it’s Anderson Silva, we’re privileged that it’s him. We want the fight… we want it tomorrow if we can.”
Tompkins also offered a lofty prediction on the upcoming bout. While he wouldn’t pick a winner, he did say that the fight would be everything that fight fans crave, and more.
“It’s probably going to be the fight of the century,” he predicted. “It’s going to be one of the most exciting for the fans to see… it’s going to show the sport where it’s evolved.
“These are two fighters that have and do things that nobody has ever seen before. The best man’s obviously going to win, I’m not going to say if it’s going to be us or if it’s going to be Anderson. All I can say is that it will live up to every aspect and every dream that everybody has of a dream fight.”
You can watch our full interview with Shawn Tompkins – which includes him talking about Vitor reaching his true potential and saying that the old Vitor isn’t back – below: