Having healed the hand injury which kept him from a rematch with Wanderlei Silva at UFC 147, Vitor Belfort will be back in action Oct. 13 in his hometown of Rio de Janeiro.

Now two fights removed from a failed title bid against Anderson Silva, Belfort will look to climb back into contention when he takes on middleweight finisher Alan Belcher in the co-main event of UFC 153. Despite more than 15 years of fighting experience, Belfort knows it will be no easy task.

“He’s a complete fighter,” Belfort said of Belcher in an interview with Sherdog.com this week. “He kicks well and he’s really improved his ground skills with [Brazilian jiu-jitsu coach] Daniel Moraes. He’s a tough fighter, young and dedicated, and an excellent opponent in this weight class. That’s why I’m training with the lions.”

The “lions” Belfort refers to are the Blackzilians, a team based out of the Jaco Hybrid Training Center in Delray Beach, Fla., featuring the likes of Rashad Evans, Gesias Cavalcante, Danillo Villefort, Cosmo Alexandre, Carlos Augusto Filho, and coached by Mario Sperry, among others. It’s a new phase in training which has “The Phenom” excited.

“I needed tough training, so I went to the Blackzilians. They have excellent, high-level fighters. I’m very happy with this training because I needed to be pushed. I needed sparring partners,” Belfort explained. “I’m happy. I feel like new. I’m coming home very happy and joyful.”

A win over Belcher could put Belfort close to another shot at the UFC middleweight belt, but the 35-year-old isn’t thinking about that at the moment.

“I’m just thinking of one fight at a time, and now I’m thinking only about Alan Belcher. What happens after that, the results will decide. Such results will happen, and I’m preparing for them to be positive.”

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