Vitor Belfort – Better Than Yesterday

By Thomas Gerbasi

“I know I can beat him if I’m ready when I step into the Octagon. It’s just a matter of doing what you’re capable of doing, and I think I’m capable to go there and fight and get the win.”

No matter what happens in the UFC 126 main event on Saturday night in Las Vegas, to many people, 33-year old middleweight challenger Vitor Belfort will always be 19.

He will never shake the mental picture people have of him as the precocious “Phenom”, all flailing fists and devastating speed and power, the likes of which took out Tra Telligman, Scott Ferrozzo, Tank Abbott, and Wanderlei Silva in the early days of the UFC. If you tell him this, he simply chuckles before admitting that he does turn back the clock on his own occasionally.

“I watch them sometimes,” said Belfort of his first UFC bouts. “But I don’t like to see myself on video.”

He doesn’t like to live in the past either. After his 44 second knockout of Silva at Ultimate Brazil in 1998, 20 fights have taken place over the ensuing 12 years. He’s not the same fighter he was back then, and he’s quick to point out that he’s better now, in all aspects of his life.

“I know I’m capable of using my experience now,” he said, making it clear that while the power and speed remains, the reckless part of his personality and fighting style is gone. “It’s part of the job. Sometimes you can score a touchdown, sometimes you can’t. But we always can do better. We have to be a better man, a better athlete, a better father, a better everything every day. We always have to improve.”


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