Belfort: 'It's been an Amazing Journey'
Vitor Belfort licensed to fight Chris Weidman on December 6 in Las Vegas...
You couldn’t take the smile off Vitor Belfort’s face if you tried. Wednesday morning in Las Vegas, the former light heavyweight champion and current middleweight contender was granted a conditional license by the Nevada State Athletic Commission to compete in the state, beginning with a December 6 title fight against Chris Weidman.
“Everything is good,” said Belfort. “After a big storm comes the rainbow, so I’m pretty happy. No whining from me, I’m happy.”
The decision came after months of turmoil that began with a failed drug test in February, when Belfort tested positive for elevated levels of testosterone. A former user of TRT (testosterone replacement therapy), which was subsequently banned by the NSAC, Belfort was scratched from a UFC 173 bout against Weidman in May, and he also saw a July bout with Chael Sonnen scrapped when Sonnen failed two random drug tests.
Yet after coming clean to the commission, Belfort was confident entering Wednesday’s hearing that he would be cleared to compete again.
“If I have a choice to think, I always think positive,” he said. “When you’re true to yourself, I was positive with everything we did, the cooperation that I had, I knew it, and I was ready to receive that good news.”
In the midst of a three-fight winning streak that has seen him knock out Michael Bisping, Luke Rockhold, and Dan Henderson in 2013, Belfort said that staying in the gym has kept him focused throughout some trying times in 2014.
“Train, train, train,” he said when asked how he’s remained sharp and focused during the time off. “I have to train mentally, physically, and spiritually, and that has been my regimen. Life for me is training, and work ethic is the key for me to succeed.”
As for the process of living without TRT, he said, “It’s been great. The time has been my ally, and it’s been good. I’m excited.”
With that chapter closed, the focus now shifts to the other good news Belfort received today – a December 6 bout against Weidman.
“That’s what I was looking for,” he said of the bout, which was announced by the UFC shortly after the NSAC ruling. “I worked hard for this moment and the moment will come. Now I’ll just take care of today. Winning every day is how I will prepare. Whatever I can implement to get better every day, that’s what I will do.”
Weidman, unbeaten as a pro, has been the bane of Brazilian fighters recently, defeating Anderson Silva (twice) and Lyoto Machida in three championship bouts. Belfort isn’t focusing on the New Yorker though; he’s looking in the mirror.
“I don’t think too much about him; I’m more focused on me,” he said. “And to win, I have to see what I have to do; I’m not focused on him.”
If the 37-year-old Belfort does defeat “The All-American,” it will be the icing on the cake for quite a memorable career, and he knows it.
“Winning the (UFC 12) tournament at 19 years old, becoming the light heavyweight champion, and now fighting for the middleweight title, it’s been an amazing journey,” he said.