UFC Fight Night 32's Vitor Belfort visualizing win over Henderson, title shot


  • Share on Tumblr
  • submit to reddit

vitor-belfort-29.jpg(This story first appeared in today’s USA TODAY.)

GOIANIA, Brazil – It may seem odd that the UFC’s next middleweight title challenger could be determined in a light-heavyweight contest, but for Brazilian slugger Vitor Belfort, it’s very much a reality.

It’s just a reality he doesn’t want to discuss until after Saturday night.

“I’m so happy just to be able to go into this fight so focused,” Belfort told USA TODAY Sports. “I’m looking forward to fighting one of the greatest fighters of all time, Dan Henderson, so that’s my focus right now.”

Belfort (23-10 MMA, 12-6 UFC) and Henderson (29-10 MMA, 6-4 UFC) meet in the headlining contest of Saturday’s “UFC Fight Night: Belfort vs. Henderson” (FOX Sports 1, 8 p.m. ET), which takes place at Brazil’s Goiania Arena.

UFC President Dana White recently revealed that a Belfort win would earn him the title shot for which he has long lobbied. On the other hand, despite the fight taking place at 205 pounds, a loss to Henderson – a man who possesses knockout power capable of ending most fighters’ nights in a single blow – would take Belfort out of immediate title contention.

Belfort said the risk is worth the reward.

“You’re remembered for your last fight, so some people are afraid of taking a risk,” Belfort said. “Everything is a risk in life. We have to go out and risk in order to win.”

Middleweight champion Chris Weidman (10-0 MMA, 6-0) faces the man he beat for the belt, Anderson Silva (33-5 MMA, 16-1 UFC), in main event of UFC 168 next month. Should Belfort win on Saturday, especially in impressive fashion, he’s expected to get a shot at the winner and a chance to avenge a failed 2011 bid for the 185-pound title.

There is, however, one caveat. “The Phenom” is one of a handful of fighters who have been approved by the sport’s governing athletic commissions for a therapeutic-use exemption for testosterone-replacement therapy – an increasingly common procedure in the U.S., but one that can be easily abused if athletes are not thoroughly monitored. (Henderson is also utilizing the treatment.)

While Belfort has had little trouble getting approval for the process in his native Brazil, Nevada State Athletic Commission Executive Director Keith Kizer has previously stated he’s not so sure the 36-year-old would enjoy the same privilege in Las Vegas, frequent home to many of the UFC’s biggest fights.

Belfort, who at one time avoided discussion of the topic, has begun to talk about his treatment in detail of late, and he remains confident his doctor-ordered plan is carefully monitored and should not be viewed as cheating.

“I’m so open right now,” Belfort said. “I have nothing to hide. I’m just being truthful, so it’s good.”

Belfort’s credentials are well established. At 9-2 in his past 11 contests, his only losses in the past six years are to top pound-for-pound fighters Silva and Jon Jones. In 2013 alone, he’s registered highlight-reel knockouts of Michael Bisping and Luke Rockhold, who he beat with a spinning back kick he said he envisioned in a dream before the fight.

Now, the reality of what lies ahead is clear. Win, and another crack at UFC gold is in the cards. Lose, and he’ll go to the back of an increasingly long line that features top contenders like Lyoto Machida and Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza. Belfort said he again envisions his path to success.

“But some dreams you cannot share,” Belfort said. “Let’s make it happen first.”

For more on UFC Fight Night 32, stay tuned to the UFC Rumors section of the site.

view original article >>

Related News

  • 14 days ago
  • 22 views

DUBLIN – The line between future star and overhyped can be thin. Irishman Conor McGregor is straddling that line as he prepares to headline his first UFC show in front of his home fans in Dublin. Filed under: Featured, News, UFC read news >>

  • 25 days ago
  • 71 views

It could be ... but maybe not. Now that Chris Weidman has disposed of his latest challenger, winning a unanimous decision over Lyoto Machida (watch the highlights here) in the main event of UFC 175 last night (July 5, 2014) in Las Vegas, Nevada, it's time to look ahead to his next middleweight title defense. Paging Vitor Belfort: Now I want what I deserve, MY TITIE SHOT!!! Don't run away!! No excuses!! Agora eu quero o q eu… http://t.co/wZYj8OBVAT — Vitor Belfort (@vitorbelfort) July 6, 2014 Bel read news >>

  • 25 days ago
  • 19 views

Perennial UFC middleweight contender Vitor Belfort feels he's been waiting on the sidelines for too long and is ready for another crack at UFC gold. Following 185-pound champ Chris Weidman's hard-fought win by decision over Lyoto Machida at UFC 175 Saturday night, "The Phenom" was quick to make it known on Twitter that he wants the next shot at "The All-American": Now I want what I deserve, MY TITIE SHOT!!! Don't run away!! No excuses!! Agora eu quero o q eu… http://t.co/wZYj8OBVAT — Vitor Belfo read news >>

  • 15 days ago
  • 18 views

Brazilian standout Lucas Martins is probably thankful he’s headed back to featherweight after a recent UFC appearance at 135 pounds.Filed under: News, UFC read news >>

  • 28 days ago
  • 19 views

Antonio Silva won’t waste any time getting back to work when his suspension wraps up – and he apparently will be doing it at home in a rematch against Andrei Arlovski.Filed under: MMA Rumors, News, UFC read news >>

  • 28 days ago
  • 54 views

Antonio "Bigfoot" Silva won’t get what he was hoping for. "Bigfoot" was campaigning for a heavyweight clash with Josh Barnett, but he will instead face another former UFC champion in Andrei Arlovski in the main event of the UFC Fight Night card in Brasilia, Brazil, on Sept. 13. MMAFighting.com confirmed the match-up with sources close to the situation following a report from Combate. Silva and Arlovski fought for the first time in 2010 under the Strikeforce banner, and "Bigfoot" came out victori read news >>

  • 27 days ago
  • 52 views

Antonio Silva got the best of Andrei Arlovski under the Strikeforce banner in 2010. “Bigfoot” will apparently get the chance to do the same on his home soil this September. read news >>

  • 27 days ago
  • 40 views

Their heavyweight rematch is expected to serve as event headliner. Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) is giving former heavyweight champion Andrei Arlovski a chance at redemption against heavyweight slugger Antonio Silva, as the pair will reportedly hook 'em up for a second time inside the cage at UFC Fight Night 51, which takes place on Sept. 13, 2014 inside Nilson Nelson Gymnasium in Brasilia. Globo reported the news (via MMA Fighting) on Thursday night. Arlovski (22-10) lost to the Brazilia read news >>

  • 23 days ago
  • 62 views

Vitor Ribeiro will enter the Octagon later this month, but he won’t do it as a fighter. "Shaolin," a former Shooto and Cage Rage 155-pound champion, will referee a UFC fight for the first time at the UFC Fight Night 45 card in Atlantic City, N.J., on July 16, and he’s anxious to step inside the Octagon. "I’m excited," Ribeiro told MMAFighting.com. "I have a lot experience as a referee in Brazil, but I worked at some amateur events in New Jersey, and recently worked at a professional event in May read news >>