UFC middleweight contender Vitor “The Phenom” Belfort has been scheduled to fight Anderson Silva for his middleweight strap on several different occasions since he made his victorious return to the Octagon at UFC 103. Injuries on both sides of the table postponed the bout and now Silva is tied up in a rematch with Chael Sonnen, leaving Belfort to risk his contender’s status against middleweight dark horse Yushin Okami at UFC 122 this November. Belfort appeared on the latest episode of MMAFighting.com’s The MMA Hour with Ariel Helwani and discussed how he feels about waiting in line for the title shot and ranked where the title rests on his list of goals.
“You know what I’m expecting? I’m expect Jesus, bro, every day,” Belfort said. “I’m expecting Jesus to come into my life and choose my path. Whatever out there is good for me. For sure, I want the title but the decision doesn’t belong to me. I’ve been there. I won the [heavyweight] title when I was 19 years old. I won in a different division in 2004 (light heavyweight). I’ve accomplished so many things in my career.I don’t let titles and positions and fame overcome my life and take over me.”
Ever-faithful, Belfort indicated that he was upset to lose his opportunity to challenge for the belt but that he is making the best of it and is retaining a positive outlook on the entire situation.
“In life you always have two choices to make,” Belfort said. “You either live bitter, angry or you live in a happy life, you enjoy it. So I try to always see a positive on that. So whatever is what’s the best. I’m not disappointed. I have to take it. I just have to learn how to take things in my life because so many things happen in my life that wasn’t the way that was supposed to be. But I just learn a lesson. You just have to see things in a different perspective.”
Helwani asked Belfort, who recently declared that he would much rather fight Stateside (preferably in his base of operations: Las Vegas, Nevada) than overseas, why he agreed to fight Okami on a card that will take place in Oberhausen, Germany. Belfort took the path that comes closest to guaranteeing job security in the UFC and explained that he is doing whatever it takes to please the UFC and the fans.
“We work for the UFC and whatever is the best for them,” he said. “For sure I would like to fight in the U.S. but it’s a joy to go outside of the country and fight in front of fans. They hardly get to see the fights live.”
At this point in his career, Belfort said, fighting for the title is a welcomed luxury, not the main goal. “The Phenom” is more interested in retaining the happiness he gets from training and fighting; if a title shot comes along, he would relish the opportunity but at this point he isn’t living or dying based on the position he holds in the middleweight division.
“I’m fighting for joy. For me to perform well, I need to be happy,” Belfort said. “I need to enjoy working with the people that I’m working with. And that’s what I’m concerned after this fight. I want to be happy to go back again in the gym, to train, to learn and to perform well for the fans, the UFC and everybody around the world watching. That’s what I’m concerned [of] and that’s what I’m worried about. The title is just a consequence.”