Since dropping to middleweight, after spending most of his career at either heavyweight or competing at 205-pounds, UFC on FX 8 headliner Vitor Belfort has only tasted defeat in the weight class one time.
That defeat came in 2011 when Belfort faced off with fellow Brazilian and UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva.
Following the loss, Belfort got right back on the horse again and proceeded to finish his next two opponents in back-to-back fights, against Yoshihiro Akiyama and Anthony Johnson.
The veteran fighter stepped up when the UFC needed him last year, where he took a shot at light heavyweight champion Jon Jones at UFC 152. Belfort locked up an armbar early in the fight that almost finished the top ranked 205-pound fighter, but ultimately, he fell to the champion, losing by submission in the fourth round.
Belfort bounced back from that defeat with an emphatic head kick knockout of Michael Bisping at UFC on FX 7, and now, he hopes to continue blazing his path back to the title when he faces former Strikeforce middleweight champion Luke Rockhold later this month in Brazil at UFC on FX 8.
For all his years in the sport, Belfort has been a part of some of the biggest fights in UFC history and has had his fair share of grudge matches along the way. Still, the goal for Belfort right now is getting another crack at the middleweight title, but that has nothing to do with seeking vengeance against Silva for the knockout he suffered at the hands of the champion in their title fight at UFC 136.
"Let me be clear, I am not looking for a rematch with anyone," Belfort told Bleacher Report recently. "What I want is the belt. It doesn’t matter who has it."
At 36-years-old, Belfort hasn't slowed down much at all, considering he had his first fight in the UFC when he was only a 19-year-old.
The former light heavyweight champion feels he has lots of time left in this sport, so that gives him plenty of opportunities to get another shot at the belt.
"I feel that I am starting my career right now," Belfort stated. "I feel young enough to keep fighting for a bunch more fights."
Heading into his next fight at UFC on FX 8, Belfort has kept his head down and focused on training and not paying too much attention to what his opponent has to say.
Rockhold recently did an interview with MMAFightCorner.com where he discussed Belfort's usage of testosterone replacement therapy (TRT), calling it "a crock of s—t" and that he had "more heart than Vitor" and was "more of a man than Vitor."
When confronted with those statements, Belfort chose to take the high road and let Rockhold stick to his opinions. He's happy to settle the score inside the cage and not during interviews.
"He is a great fighter," Belfort said about Rockhold. "(His comments) this is just what he says."
Belfort no longer talks publicly about his usage of TRT, but his opponents certainly are not keeping to those same rules. For the most part, however, Belfort has ignored whatever they have had to say and just keeps his eye on the prize.
The prize for Belfort after this fight is another crack at the UFC middleweight title.
"I have been fighting and winning all the fights in my division," Belfort said. "I think I deserve a title shot."
Belfort is currently ranked No. 2 in the middleweight division, according to the UFC, and a win over Rockhold (who is currently ranked No. 5) certainly helps his case in getting another shot at the gold.
If Belfort can repeat his last performance in Brazil, it may start to become very hard to deny the longtime UFC veteran his chance to fight for the title belt once again.
Damon Martin is a Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report and all quotes were obtained first hand unless otherwise noted.
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