Vitor Belfort feels like he is on a mission.
After suffering the first-ever knockout off of his career to Anderson Silva in February at UFC 126 in a match up for the UFC middleweight championship, Belfort (19-9) hopes to get back on track when he meets Yoshihiro Akiyama (13-3) at UFC 133 tonight.
Recently, Belfort sat down with Case Keefer of the Las Vegas Sun for an interview where he discussed the Silva loss, fighting for the title again and his desire to remain in the sport.
“I make sure every day I’m getting happier and having more joy,” Belfort said. “I feel much better. Today, I’m a happier man.”
That was not the case after he felt the stiff-end of a Silva front kick to the chin that ended his hopes of derailing the long-time champion.
Yet, Belfort, who at the time stated it was a “one-in-a-thousand chance” that the kick would work, believes he is just a win or two from getting another crack at the strap.
“I was ready to beat him that night and he knew that,” Belfort said. “But he caught me and that was it. I have no excuses, but I think he had a lucky night.
“It wasn’t the night I expected, but I’m an overcomer. I just deal with it. Everyone has to deal with the issues we have in our life. That was my issue.”
Belfort is training at Xtreme Couture in preparation for the Akiyama fight, which will be the co-main event of tonight’s card. Tito Ortiz and Rashad Evans meet in a light heavyweight contest that will highlight the night.
While the Brazilian feels that he is right in the thick of things when it comes to determining a No. 1 contender, the UFC might have other ideas. The company has a match pitting former contender Chael Sonnen against rising star Brian Stann scheduled for UFC 136, and many feel the winner of that contest will fight for the title next.
“I have a fight with Akiyama, he has a fight in Brazil (Silva defends against Yushin Okami at UFC 134) and then I want to fight for the belt,” Belfort said. “That’s my goal. I want that thing around my waist. I think I have all the credentials that someone needs to fight for the title.”
Belfort is a former light heavyweight champion, and also claimed the UFC 12 Heavyweight Tournament title. He had won his five previous fights before falling to Silva.
UFC 133: Evans vs. Ortiz takes place tonight from the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Don’t forget to check back later this afternoon for FightLine.com’s live coverage of the event.