Former UFC light heavyweight champion, Vitor Belfort had the chance to return to the top of the world against Anderson Silva, but the champion stopped his plans with a front kick. After the fight, Belfort spoke with TATAME and analyzed his performance, praising Anderson’s techniques and promising he’ll return stronger. “I’ll get my chance again,” said Belfort, who revealed plans to fight one time before UFC Rio, in August.
He had used that kick on the opened training and against Dan Henderson… Did you had prepared yourself for that kind of kick or were you caught by surprise?
Look, that kind of kick is very hard to catch, it’s also hard to fit it too, but he did it. He can use this kick, but the way he did is pretty difficult to, but he did it. I believe you only get lucky if you train. He trained and got lucky. But I think it’s something that if he tried to do in ten fights he would only be succeeded once (laughs). He deserved it. I was doing fine on the fight, I was winning it, but I wasn’t lucky to fit that punch, I missed it, that punch on the ground was really powerful. If it hits him… But it didn’t and his kick hit me hard, it was his night, I can’t help it. Everything I promised to do, I did. I didn’t get the win, but it’s part of the sport. I’ll get my chance. We’ll work now so I get it the next time.
You were doing fine after the initial study. Was the game plan to feel how he’d come on the beginning of the fight and then go for it?
The game plan was exactly that because I trust my exchange. I knew that it was the thing he’d bring that would be more dangerous, his legs, and he used them, his kicks… The fight didn’t develop a lot, right? When I noticed it, when it had really started, I was winning but when I stopped, for just one second, it cost me the fight. It was his night.
Before the fight, there was much talk, that look, both on the press conference as on the weight, but at the end of the fight he went there to compliment you. How was the meeting after the fight? Do you think that the provocations were to promote the fight or do you really thing you had unsolved business and that it finished as the fight ended?
No, there was anything solved. Each one acts under pressure on a different way. I always act the same way, independently of the pressure I’m under, of the moment I’m living in. some people don’t, some people try to use the pressure when they’re nervous differently, they get anxious and want to do something with that. I don’t. It’s like I’ve said: Anderson wanted the truth. Many people ask why he did that, and I come here to say that I think that he tried to act like a character when he’s under pressure, but the real Anderson is a good guy. Many people don’t really like it, they get upset, don’t like the way he speaks… But I think it depends on the people around him, it depends on what they tell him to do, his values, these things. Sometimes he says something and people see it pejoratively, I don’t.
I know Anderson, I know he’s a good guy, I like him, he’s to be congratulated for his attitude at the end of the fight. If he’s a champion, he has to act like one: to be humble and, at the end of the fight, he showed it. He’s a champion, he won that fight, but I use to say: the competition goes on. One win isn’t one moment. I’m sure that, soon, I’ll get my chance again. But we can’t take Anderson’s credits, he is to be congratulated, he’s the champion and he act like one when it was over. He and all his camp, Joinha (Jorge Guimarăes) and Ed Soares (Anderson’s managers) called me later to check out how I was doing… So, people are respectful, they got my message about respect. It was good for the sport, Brazil grew a lot with it, we were part of history in Brazil with this fight. Me and Anderson grew a lot as persons, it’s a joy. In the end, this fight marked the history of the country and now the sports is seen on a different way. Congratulations for him, and for all Brazilian that stopped the country to watch the fight, and that’s it. I’ve lost this fight, I’ve lost a battle, but not the war.
This fight was greater than any other fight, with all Brazilian media going to Las Vegas to cover it, and UFC’s press conference had half Brazilian reporters. How was it, for you, to be a part of history?
Absolutely. It was exactly that. There are fights that enter history and me and Anderson are part of it. People will start talking about this fight and the ones that’ll come. It’s obvious that many times people identify with me because the truth I preach is the truth I live on. I’ve always been a fan of the sport, I’ve always been a person that says something and people listen to because I have back up on the things I say, I say what I live, I say what is truth and I think this respect of people is a nice thing. Anderson won that fight, he won the battle. But there’s another battler that me, Anderson and all Brazilians are living in so that we can get our space. This battle isn’t only mine, it’s a battle of all fighters, all Brazilians, and I think we’re winning, and I’m thankful. I can’t thank enough the people who stopped full restaurants, bars, Rio de Janeiro and the other cities to watch this fight. I can’t give this admiration back to the fans, I can only thank and live of it.
In August there’ll be an edition of UFC in Rio, and you’re one of the greatest names in Brazilian MMA and one of the most expected names to be on this card. Do you think of fighting on this event, even if it’s six months from now, or do you want to fight before that?
No. I want to fight before that. Of course I’ll fight in Brazil, but I want to fight earlier. I’ll talk to Lorenzo this week, then I’ll take a two-weeks-vacation and let’s move one because the war continues.
Send a message for your fans that cheered for you and that surely are looking forwards to see you on that octagon again…
The message I have to send them is this: thank you from the bottom of my heart for your support and affection. We’ve suffered together, we’ve cried together… I want to say we’ve lost a battle, but not the war. Respect is a word I want my fans to get, not only on the sport, but on their lives. I know many times the outcome is not exactly what we hoped for, but the fans we make and all we get… They know who I am and who I’ll always be. On that bout I was ready to fight, and everybody knew I was prepared. I’m a mature Vitor, a Vitor who recognize things. I see the Love and affection that the fans give me and I say it’s my fuel, it’s what makes me to move on, what makes me live the moment. I have to lose 20 pounds in one day to schedule my fight, to be a part of history, even having fought with a person I like, that I’ve trained with, I knew this fight was going to be remembered as it did. I’m sure I’m a part of history for many Brazilians and non-Brazilians too. The values of incorruptible respect I brought to many hearts – ones get it and others don’t, but in the end, the respect matters most, agreeing with it or not, the respect is greater. A kiss in all your hearts and that God bless you.
I feel sorry for Vitor.
Going so confident in a title fight, knowing you did everything right to prepare for the fight.
You start the fight, and right when you start getting comfortable, you find your rhythm and you see the champ not being that *big monster* everyone was talking about- BANG! You go to sleep!