If you recall, prior to his UFC 117 bout with Chael Sonnen, the longtime UFC middleweight champion spent some time with 7th-dan Aikido black belt Steven Seagal to learn slap blocks, wrist locks and throat strikes — none of which helped him from being dumped on his ass and pounded on for the majority of five rounds by the testosterone deficient Republican.
After trying in vain to secure Ralph Macchio to help him prepare for his upcoming UFC 126 bout with Silva, Belfort had to settle for the next best thing: Mike Tyson.
According to an interview "The Phenom" did recently with Portal Do Vale Tudo (as translated by Sherdog), the pairing was a natural one considering the parallels between both of their careers.
“Mike Tyson is a big idol, and he crossed the boundaries of sport. He was a great inspiration to many athletes and in my career since I was a child. We have much in common and had fame too soon. We always have good conversations. I was at his house and met his family. I met his daughter and wife, who is pregnant. It’s always nice to be in touch with people like him. I told him that he’s used badly, because he has great views of fighting," he says. "He knows a lot of martial arts, but they aren’t given the proper value. He said he wanted to be part of my camp, and it was a pleasure to be part of my training. I told him to come in and give me some tips. He’s an important person in the sport and was a great motivator for many successful fighters. I think it’s important to have a recovery.”
In preparing for Silva — a fight he has coveted for four years, Belfort isn’t taking anything for granted and is leaving no stone unturned.
“It’s hard to expect anything from Anderson because he’s very thorough. I’m seeking the fullness of everything, but I focused on jiu-jitsu and boxing; that’s my lethal weapon. I will also training karate, with Jayme Sandall coming in," Belfort explains. "I’m training muay Thai to practice the combination of blows. I’ll try to use wisdom, and if people think I only have a chance to win in the first round, I’ll show them they were wrong. I focus on things that need improving, and I’m working hard on that.”
If Vitor’s years in the sport have taught him anything, it’s that fighting is a business and that it’s not to be taken personally when a co-worker tries to turn your lights out — something he says Silva hasn’t yet realized.
During the recent photo shoot that yielded the photo below, Belfort says "The Spider" refused to share pleasantries with his upcoming opponent.
("Seriously, guys, would it kill you to smile?")
“I think Anderson has the attitude of taking it personally. After [the photo shoot], I went to try to talk to him, and he said he wouldn’t talk to me. I think he was upset that I wanted to fight him, because he thought it was personal. It’s not personal; it’s a job," he explains. "I thank God I was a guy who broke barriers and showed that people can grow. Some people who once criticized me now see me differently.”
Both men will bring impressive streaks into the Octagon with them when they meet to settle things February 5 in Las Vegas. Belfort hasn’t lost in the five fights since dropping a decision to Dan Henderson at PRIDE 32 in October 2006, while Silva has won his last 13 fights since being DQ’ed for an illegal upkick against Yushin Okami at Rumble on the Rock 8 in January of the same year. As such, Belfort says it’s unlikely that there will be any pre-fight rhetoric between them as they both prefer to allow their records and their performance in the cage speak for themselves.
“There’s a lot of pride involved, and people think I’m afraid [of Silva]. Afraid of what? Why would I be afraid of a man? If I have to win, I’ll win, and if I have to lose, I’ll lose. I don’t have reasons to be afraid. I was never a guy that wants to brag,” he says. “I taste things with my attitudes. There are people who say they will knock you out but end up with their butts on the floor. We’ve seen it enough. I’d rather be a normal person, and I understand the sport otherwise. I don’t need to do an evil face for people to think I’m a good fighter. I have to do my job. My job is to fight, and I try to do my best. There are many people who talk but don’t remember to do what they said they were going to do when the time comes. I’ve never been a talker. I’m more about doing.”