Vitor Belfort is not only a pioneer of MMA in both North and South America, he's also arguably Brazil's most popular MMA fighter. It would only make sense that he would on the short list of those Brazilian fighters slated to appear on the UFC's return to Brazil this August at UFC: Rio. Belfort recently spoke to Tatame magazine, discussing why once rival Wanderlei Silva backed off from his challenge and why it would be his dream to compete on the UFC: Rio card.
"Well, my friend, what can I do? The tongue is a man’s whip and he needs to learn to speak less and fight more. But anyways, what you gonna do? That’s life brother, I don’t care about that, I am focused on my next challenge. I don’t care about names, I don’t choose my opponents, my focus is always my next fight, regardless of who that may be.
For me it’s cool, I don’t live life in the expectations of men, [I live life] in the expectations of God, life is like that. Sometimes we lose, the unforeseen happens and we need to be ready and trained, because we cannot guarantee the results. I am the type of guy that will follow through with what I say, I’m not a man who says one thing and not do it"
With respect to fighting in his hometown of Rio de Janeiro:
"That’s all I want. That’s my dream, to be able to fight in Rio de Janeiro, in my country. Fight for my people has always been my dream. Since I was one of the pioneers of the sport in my country, it would be a sort of reward for everything I’ve done for the sport".
And a fair reward indeed. Belfort's career has experienced it's fair share of peaks and troughs, but the generally trajectory and heft of his presence has lifted the entire sport, particularly in Brazil. He married a well-known Playboy model and appeared on one of Brazil's top-rated reality shows. For better or worse, he's been the face of MMA in his home country. Promotionally, using Belfort's services makes considerable sense and if the UFC is in the business of "rewarding" those who've helped to elevate the sport, Belfort's a top candidate.