JARAGUA DO SUL, Brazil – If the 36-year-old Vitor Belfort is indeed the “young dinosaur,” 28-year-old former Strikeforce champ Luke Rockhold may very well be a metaphorical “young lion.” As Belfort sees it, that’s a complete mismatch.
“Imagine if the T-Rex was in the jungle,” Belfort told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com). “Do you think a lion could stand with a T-Rex? Maybe [Rockhold] doesn’t know history.”
Belfort (22-10 MMA, 11-6 UFC) and Rockhold (10-1 MMA, 0-0 UFC) meet in the headlining bout of Saturday’s UFC on FX 8 event, which takes place at Arena Jaragua in Jaragua do Sul, Brazil. The night’s main card, including the Belfort vs. Rockhold main event, airs on FX.
During a Thursday pre-fight media event, Belfort – whose 16-year history with the UFC has led him to label himself as a “young dinosaur” – revealed he even identifies himself as a certain species of ancient carnivore.
“I’m really happy to be the only T-Rex in this jungle,” Belfort said.
He’ll need to be at his best, of course, as Rockhold does present legitimate skills in the cage. A proven submission expert with the cardio necessary to last a full five rounds if needed, Rockhold also boasts a reach advantage on the feet. But Belfort has long been considered on of the best fighters in the world and said his belief in himself and God means he’s not concerned with anything Rockhold presents.
“Muhammed Ali said if you’re not confident, just pretend you’re confident,” Belfort said. “Confidence, I believe, comes from inside. It’s all about what I have and what I’ve accomplished.
“I have the joy of the Lord, man. No man can stand before me all the days of my life. To the glory of God.”
With a win, Belfort would improve to 4-1 in his past five fights, and his lone losses in the past seven years of UFC work have been in failed bids to claim UFC titles in the middleweight and light heavyweight divisions. He’s admitted he’d like one more shot at the belt, but for now Belfort said he’s not looking past Rockhold.
“Maybe you misunderstand,” Belfort said when asked if he was hoping to earn a title shot. “What I want is a win. A win takes care of itself. What I want is to win. That’s what I want.”
Belfort has been a controversial figure in recent months with critics targeting his approved use of testosterone replacement therapy as a potential problem with the sport of MMA. But the dinosaur isn’t interested in political debates.
He realizes his time in the sport – like the T-Rex’s time on Earth – will eventually run out. So with what’s left, Belfort intends to make the most of his time.
“I’m focused on winning,” Belfort said. “I’m focused on today, so I’m going to cut weight. It’s a special moment. It’s a cleanse, and it’s fun. I just enjoy it. I don’t have a lot of years. I have to enjoy every moment. I will miss these years with my friends, with my trainers. I’m going to be around, for sure, but I just have to enjoy it. That’s how I love life.
“Today could be your last day. What can you do if you knew today was going to be your last day? You would change so much. If you have to change so much, that means you’re living a wrong life. If you could just enjoy it and be happy, that means you’re living the right life.”
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