(Video courtesy YouTube/SNETCF)
The big question mark whenever Vitor Belfort‘s doubters talk about how successful the Brazilian powerhouse will be in upcoming bouts like his middleweight championship tilt with Anderson Silva on Saturday night at UFC 126 is where his head’s at.
When his sister Priscilla was kidnapped in 2004 in the week prior to his UFC 46 championship bout with Randy Couture, "The Phenom" admitted that the situation was weighing heavily on his mind. Because he spoke openly about the emotional effect loing her had on him, many assume that he never really got over the ordeal even after her kidnappers substantiated fears that Priscilla was dead, confessing in 2007 to her killing.
Subsequently, most of Belfort’s detractors chalk his eight MMA losses up to him being mentally fragile, even though they all came against present and future champions and only two were via stoppage. If being beaten by Chuck Liddell, Alistair Overeem, Randy Couture and Dan Henderson in their prime makes you a mental midget then guys like Rich Franklin and Wanderlei Silva must be psychologically retarded as well.
According to the former UFC light heavyweight champ and UFC 12 heavyweight tournament winner, oddsmakers would be making a big mistake by writing him off as the underdog when he challenges Silva. He says that the root of his status as the dark horse in big fights are rumors like the one Urijah Faber mentioned in the video above which are the result of conjecture from those who think they know him.
"I’m very happy, excited, rejoicing for this fight. There’s no pressure on me. If people that know my past assume I will have issues that will affect me in this fight they will be making a big mistake. They don’t know how much Vitor has improved. The advantage that the people who really know me have is that they know my how much I’ve changed," he tells Tatame.com. "I believe we should always make changes, not only in our professional lives, but on our personal lives too with things like parenthood. We make mistakes, we go through things and we learn things during the process, which make us better; that’s what I believe in.
I really believe that it will be a historic fight because we both are fighters who’ll be remembered for our history — each one by what we’ve done in the past. Anderson is considered by most to be the best pound for pound fighter in the world and I was the youngest champion in UFC history who had a lot of high and low moments. Anderson is a fighter who grew and climbed and kept his status as one of the best in the sport, but I’m different. I had many high and low points in my career. People have always speculated about how that affected me mentally and some assume that I’m not at Anderson’s level because of those things, but I really think it’ll be the fight of the century."
Fight of the century might be pushing it, but it’s probably safe to say that it could very well be fight of the night and an early frontrunner for fight of the year.
One thing’s for sure, somebody is getting punched hard in the face.