Number one UFC middleweight contender Vitor “The Phenom” Belfort will be challenging middleweight kingpin Anderson “The Spider” Silva for his 185-pound championship strap this February 5th in the main event of UFC 126. Belfort spoke with Sherdog.com recently about the fight and about the animosity Silva has displayed toward him.
“It’s hard to expect anything from Anderson because he’s very thorough,” Belfort said. “I’m seeking the fullness of everything, but I focused on jiu-jitsu and boxing; that’s my lethal weapon. I will also training karate, with Jayme Sandall coming in. I’m training muay Thai to practice the combination of blows. I’ll try to use wisdom, and if people think I only have a chance to win in the first round, I’ll show them they were wrong. I focus on things that need improving, and I’m working hard on that.”
Silva and Belfort were originally scheduled to face off in the main event of UFC 112, the UFC’s first trip to Abu Dhabi, but Belfort was forced out of the bout with an injury. However, during the press rounds for the fight, Silva was visibly aggressive toward Belfort during face offs and different photo ops. Despite this and Silva’s alleged refusal to mend fences, Belfort told Sherdog that he is not taking things personally.
“I think Anderson has the attitude of taking it personally,” Belfort said. “Afterward, I went to try to talk to him, and he said he wouldn’t talk to me. I think he was upset that I wanted to fight him, because he thought it was personal. It’s not personal; it’s a job. I thank God I was a guy who broke barriers and showed that people can grow. Some people who once criticized me now see me differently.”
“The Phenom” understands the challenge he is going up against; Silva’s run as the middleweight champion has been an unprecedented one which has seen him dispatch of some of the best fighters in the world in spectacular fashion. Belfort maintains that he remains unafraid in the face Silva’s reputation.
“There’s a lot of pride involved, and people think I’m afraid,” Belfort said. “Afraid of what? Why would I be afraid of a man? If I have to win, I’ll win, and if I have to lose, I’ll lose. I don’t have reasons to be afraid.”
UFC 126: Silva vs. Belfort is scheduled to go down this February 5th at the Mandalay Bay Events center in Las Vegas, Nevada and will also feature bouts between light heavyweight veterans Rich Franklin and Forrest Griffin as well as 205-pound up-and-comers Ryan Bader and Jon Jones.