After three straight knockout victories in 2013, Vitor Belfort is booming with confidence.
He’ll be at UFC 168 watching Anderson Silva attempt to regain his middleweight championship from Chris Weidman. Belfort is in line for a title shot against the winner.
“I don’t care who will win on Saturday, because whoever wins will already be preparing to lose,” Belfort, 24-10, told USA TODAY Sports. “That belt belongs to me.”
Belfort, 36, has remade himself as a viable contender, knocking out three top contenders in 2013. Prior to that, he nearly tapped out Jon Jones with an arm bar before getting submitted himself.
Belfort lost his last middleweight title shot when he was he was knocked out by Anderson Silva in dramatic, highlight reel fashion. In that fight, Silva connected with a Karate Kid-like swan kick to Belfort’s head, Silva’s toes nearly entering Belfort’s mouth After Silva’s kick smacked Belfort’s jaw. Since the loss, Belfort has come back bigger and more aggressive, knocking out top guys and forcing UFC President Dana White and cynics to pay attention the Brazilian fighter who turned professional as a teenager.
“I conquered my space,” Belfort said. “I wanted the opportunity to fight for the belt, and here I am. The one thing the fans wanted to see is me getting the title shot. Now I am more than ready to be a world champion in another division.”
Saturday’s card is headlined by Chris Weidman vs. Silva II and Ronda Rousey vs. Miesha Tate II from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. Behind the scenes UFC officials are hoping that the show will break its own PPV records. Silva is looking to regain the middleweight championship after his stunning KO loss to Chris Weidman last July.