Despite being on a 2-fight skid that has seen him drop back to back TKO losses, MMA legend Vitor Belfort remains a top 10 ranked middleweight on the UFC’s official roster. After going 0-2 over the course of 2016, reports surfaced that Belfort was going to retire following his UFC 204 loss to Gegard Mousasi, however he then announced that he wasn’t retiring, he was merely looking to return to the Octagon as ‘The Phenom’ and return to the win column in 2017.
He will have the chance to do so at ‘UFC Fight Night: Fortaleza’ on March 11th, when Belfort faces #10 ranked middleweight Kelvin Gastelum in a highly anticipated showdown between old school and new school.
Ahead of the fight, Belfort spoke to MMAJunkie to discuss the scrap, and his return to the Octagon as ‘The Phenom’:
“(I’m) literally a different person,” Belfort told MMAjunkie. “Totally motivated and happy. It’s something I can’t even explain. (The changes) have been made with tears and blood, but they were made.
“I’ve always been able to reinvent myself. And I think this is a good quality, people who reinvent themselves, people who won’t let the circumstances dictate how they’re supposed to live. On the contrary – (you need to) turn the circumstances into paint with which to write a new story. That’s what I did.”
“He (Gastelum) asked for it, and he got it,” Belfort said. “That guy who’s fighting Anderson Silva (Derek Brunson) turned down a fight with me. My fight was going to be with Brunson, and he declined it. Gastelum, who was excited about his win, asked to fight me, and I said ‘yes’ right away.
“He’s a guy who goes after it. He’s young, tends to want to show what he can do. That’s all I want, a fighter like him, who’s going to push me to put on a good show. I’m very happy.”
Will Vitor Belfort be able to return to the win column in March? Give us your predictions below PENN Nation!
This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 1/21/2017.