Younger Villefort Documents Recovery, Wants Strikeforce Title


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Yuri Villefort has a lot he wants to share.

One of the welterweight division's top prospects, Villefort was supposed to make his Strikeforce debut alongside his older brother Danillo at Challengers 16 on June 24. However, injuries forced both brothers off of the event and forced the younger Villefort onto an operating table to repair his damaged left knee.

The fighter is documenting his recovery through a series of online video blogs, with a new episode appearing on his official website each week.

“People think that [MMA] is just about getting in there and fighting, but we're going to show people that there are a lot more things involved, like [managing your] stress and taking care of your family while training and dealing with injuries,” Villefort told Sherdog.com. “We'll have doctors talking about what happened with my injury. We have me doing the rehab, training and hopefully fighting some [in the videos].”

Villefort's initially suffered a minor injury to his anterior-cruciate ligament last year, but rather than undergo surgery at the time, he elected to continue training. Only weeks before his Strikeforce debut, the welterweight felt his knee give way, leaving him with surgery as his only option.

“I just did a little rehab and then started training again for this fight [on June 24]. I felt sometimes my knee was a little weak. In a sparring session, I twisted my knee, and the ACL was gone. So was the meniscus,” said Villefort, who will be sidelined for approximately three months.

“The surgery was a success. Everything went perfect. I had a great doctor, and he fully took care of me. The swelling is gone. Let's get ready, you know? Let's get ready to fight.”

As he educates fans on his recovery, Villefort also hopes to shed light on his family life and his relationship with his brother Danillo and their father, Brazilian vale tudo pioneer Francisco Silva.

“My family is all here to help me out and support me. A lot of people don't know about my family, but everybody respects my dad. He's a legend. He used to fight in the early '60s, training together with master Carlson [Gracie],” said Villefort. “My dad, he did everything for us. He helped us in the beginning, and he's really my inspiration. I never saw him fight; I just saw pictures. But when I go in the cage, I go in there to be like my dad.

“[My brother and I] are real cool. We know how to talk to each other, and we don't have any problems. We just like to push ourselves together and try to be the No. 1 family in MMA.”

As mentioned, Villefort is widely regarded as one of the welterweight divisions most promising up-and-comers. Though that distinction carries with it a great deal of weight, Villefort asserts that he is focused only on what lies in his future.

“I was shocked [at how highly people rated me]. I thought, 'Things are really going [places],' you know? But now, I don't feel that it's a good thing. Being the No. 1 prospect is not my goal. [My] short term goal is to be champion in Strikeforce. Then, we'll see how life goes on.”

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