Former UFC light heavyweight champion Vitor “The Phenom” Belfort will challenge for a UFC title this February 5th for the first time since losing his belt to Randy Couture in 2004. Belfort will be taking on middleweight kingpin Anderson “The Spider” Silva, who has defeated all seven fighters who have challenged for the strap (not to mention the spectacular beatings he laid on James Irvin and Forrest Griffin in his two trips to light heavyweight).
Both being Brazilian and having trained together in the past, Belfort has quite a bit of respect for “The Spider” and his abilities, but he pledges not to make the same mistake that many of Silva’s past opponents have: respecting his fearsome aura too much.
“I think Anderson has a lot of power, a lot of skills,” said Belfort. “Anderson is an expert [standing], his kicks, his knees, his elbows–I respect that, but I’m not afraid of that. I’m gonna face that.”
Silva has taken criticism in the past for waiting for his opponents to bring the fight to him, something that those opponents who respected too much wouldn’t do, with the result often being a boring fight. Belfort also promises to avoid that pitfall, asserting that he will be in Silva’s face from bell-to-bell, looking for the win.
“The plan is to go there and fight,” he said. “I’m not going to be dancing around. With two champions in the ring, anything can happen.”
Belfort knows that he will be the underdog against Silva and understands why, but he believes in his own abilities and sees no other outcome than his capturing of the belt.
“He is the champion, he is the favorite. I am the challenger. It’s going to be a lion vs. a lion,” Belfort said. “I’m on a journey right now, I’m about to accomplish my journey. In the name of Jesus I’m gonna leave there with a victory, for sure.”
Silva and Belfort will square off in the main event of UFC 126, which is scheduled to take place this February 5th at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas, Nevada.