Vitor Belfort is a former UFC Light Heavyweight Champion, and since making his third return to the Ultimate Fighting Championship he’s managed to pick up four wins and two losses. Those two losses have come against the two strongest fighters in the game right now in Jon Jones and Anderson Silva, and while he’s been heralded for giving Jones his greatest challenge to date, Belfort is not one for consolation prizes. At 36 years old The Phenom is doing everything he can to stay on top of his game, including some methods that have stirred up controversy among pundits, fans, and fellow fighters, one of whom is Luke Rockhold.
Rockhold, who is making his UFC debut this Saturday against Belfort, is a former Strikeforce champion who is looking to put his name on the UFC map with what would be an impressive opening win. While trash-talking and jawing has become par for the course in the lead up to major UFC fights, Belfort has never been one to get caught up in the media storm. We caught up with the Brazil native for his take on Rockhold, and Saturday’s proceedings at UFC on FX 8.
Interview by Adam Silvers (@silversurfer103)
How much are you driven by a potential rematch with Jon Jones? How would you feel if your next big clash came against Anderson Silva instead?
I’m completely focused. I can’t even really answer this question because the only thing I’m focused on is winning Saturday night and facing Rockhold.
Does it drive you crazy to hear people say that you came closer to beating Jon Jones than anyone has in the past?
No, it’s an honor that I came so close. Now it’s about making sure that next time I can actually do it.
Some say that winning this fight would solidify you as a serious contender in the 185-pound division. Do you see it that way?
Winning takes care of itself, you have to win, that’s how I see it. The rest of it is out of my control.
Luke Rockhold is a former Strikeforce champion and is undefeated under that banner, how much do you know about him and his style of fighting?
Every fighter I face I prepare the best way I can, and I’m ready to compete on Saturday night. Rockhold is a great fighter, I know he’s a great champion.
Nothing, you cannot change other people’s comments. People can think, but they can’t change reality, reality is reality. They can think what they want to think, it’s their choice.
You’re on a 4-2 run since returning to the UFC, and your only loses have been to Jones and Silva, what do you attribute to your success?
God. God has given me the wisdom and the talent.
I am who I am, and I try to remain the same, that’s how I roll. Martial arts for me is very serious, it’s like a religion, and you have to have respect.
Do you ever like to get involved in the trash-talking/pre-fight hype?
It’s not really my style. I am who I am, and I try to remain the same, that’s how I roll. Martial arts for me is very serious, it’s like a religion, and you have to have respect.
What did you do to secure the win in your last fight with Michael Bisping? Are you going to come out and apply similar tactics?
My success is in my training. God has given me the ability, and then I trained with my coaches and my entire team to win.
What do you like to do when you’re not in the octagon?
Spend time with my family and friends. I like to relax, I love life, being righteous, enjoying the process and the opportunities. This is my culture.
What does it mean to fight in your native Brazil? Are you going to feed off the support of the crowd? Do you feel like the UFC world is rooting for Rockhold, though?
Fighting in Brazil and being there is amazing. As far as Rockhold, I don’t care. I don’t really focus on the things I can’t control, my friend. I only focus on what I can.