Former UFC light heavyweight champion Vitor “The Phenom” Belfort (19-9) enters the Octagon for the 13th time in his career when he meets Yoshihiro Akiyama this Saturday night at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia for UFC 133.
The Xtreme Couture standout and Carlson Gracie black belt had a scare a few months back that took him out of training for a few weeks, when he contracted Hepatitis A. But Belfort stayed positive and has overcome the illness.
“Thank God I’m healed, every day is a training for me,” Belfort told MMAWeekly Radio.
“For me life is a practically daily training. Everything you do is how you prepare yourself for your future. A lot of people think it’s just a roll for fame, money, or status. I’m not looking for crown; I’m taking wisdom in way of which to live life, with principles and matters. Every day I learn visually, I learn practically, repetition by repetition, I learn from reading, so I never stop training and I always improve myself as a professional and as a man.”
With the Akiyama fight a few days away, Belfort remains excited for the challenge and believes that the style match-up between him and his Japanese opponent will please the fans in Philly.
“He’s a tough fighter. He brings the heat. He likes to stand. He likes to trade. So he’s a pretty intense fighter. He looks pretty aggressive, and he looks like he likes to fight. It looks like we have a good match-up that the fans will enjoy, and we will be bringing the fire for the fans.”
Belfort started competing at the highest levels back in 1997 at the tender age of 19. Over the course of time, Belfort has stayed at the top while he has seen witnessed many of his former adversaries start declining with age or retires from the sport.
The 34-year-old believes the most important key to his success and longevity in the sport is that he is happy with what he does.
“I just thank God every day. I’m happy. I’m healthy. Bottom line is it’s just the way you treat life and life will treat you back. Make sure you’re happy with whatever is going on in your life. I think the key of life is just be happy with what’s in front of you and the decision of my life is under God and God knows what’s best for me.
“I listen to my body in learning and it’s very important that if you’re doing a sport like that, that you listen to your body. You need to be careful and understand that you have to listen to the nature. That’s basically what I do, it’s not an easy thing, but it’s just the way of life. You treat life the way life is going to treat you.”