Belfort: I don't feel any pressure

Vitor Belfort knocked out Rich Franklin at UFC 103 on Sept. 19, 2009 in Dallas, Texas. At UFC 126...

Vitor Belfort knocked out Rich Franklin at UFC 103 on Sept. 19, 2009 in Dallas, Texas. At UFC 126 he challenges Anderson Silva for the middleweight championship. (Photo by Jon Kopaloff/Getty Images)

NEIL SPRINGER, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 5:38 PM ET

As far as Vitor (The Phenom) Belfort is concerned, challenging Anderson (The Spider) Silva for the UFC middleweight championship is just another day at the office.

"Every fight that I've fought has been the biggest fight of my life," Belfort (19-8) said last week on a conference call. "This is the most important fight. So I'm ready and I know how that feels. But if my life depends on one event alone, my life is not worth it. I believe our lives do not depend on one event alone. Of course this can bring more profit. This can bring more recognition, but I will keep doing what I'm doing. I wake up, I worship, I read, I hang with my family -- I keep doing what I do.

"But if one event can change your life, then it can change your principle. A man either lives by principle or preference. A man who lives by principle, nothing can change his life. He doesn't negotiate with moments."

Belfort will meet Silva (27-4) in the headlining bout of UFC 126 at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas, the very arena he beat Randy (The Natural) Couture to win the light-heavyweight title seven years ago. The card will feature a co-main event between Rich (Ace) Franklin and Forrest Griffin.

Despite this being his most high-profile fight in years, against a fighter who is considered by many to be the best on the planet, Belfort said he is calm and cool ahead of the contest.

"I don't have pressure anymore," said Belfort. "I used to have a lot of pressure. (I was a) young guy who came to the scene and I had to win. Everything's about you (having) to win. It's funny the way people talk. If you lose a fight (people say) 'Okay, you've got to retire.' Everybody is expecting all of us to win, to do great things and accomplish and it's never enough. Never enough. You can never please everybody.

"So the way I live my life is what can I do best today? So I'm living today. We're talking about the 5th, but until the 5th we have so many more days. We're still going to have to cut the weight. So everything in my life is today, man. How I can do better today and influence my tomorrow."

The bout, which has the potential to be a classic between two dynamic strikers or a 25-minute staring contest, looks solid on paper.

Both fighters are Brazilian Jiu Jitsu black belts, though Belfort likely has the edge in wrestling ability. Silva is the more diverse and unpredictable striker, while Belfort has faster hands and is more explosive.

Belfort said he isn't sure what to expect from Silva.

"If I said I've faced someone like Anderson before, I'd be lying," Belfort said. "He's one of the unique guys in the sport -- the way he fights and the way he improves himself. It's pretty interesting. I'm very curious how the fight's going to go.

"You have to adapt; you have to be ready. Throughout my career, I've trained with so many different guys and fought so many different fighters. It's hard to predict how you're going to react or how effective you will be at landing kicks or punches. So you have to go with the flow. Stay strong, be smart and go with the flow. That's the way I've fought all my life and that's the way I'm going to fight."

In his last fight at UFC 117, Silva was dominated for four rounds by Chael Sonnen, only to pull out a stunning submission victory with less than two minutes on the clock.

Silva, who went into the bout with a bruised rib, feels he's addressed any gaps in his game.

"I've made a few adjustments, but pretty much I've been on the same track," Silva said through his manager and translator, Ed Soares. "It's a very intense training camp. Of course I'm always working to improve, but I've just kept the intensity throughout and I'm just going to go out there and do what I've trained to do."

During the contest, Sonnen wobbled Silva with a stiff left, leading many to speculate that if Belfort could land a similar shot, it would be lights out for the champ. However, Belfort said the Sonnen fight isn't an indication of how Silva will perform against him.

"When Anderson fought Chael, Anderson fought with an injury and he fought great," Belfort said. "He overcame everything and he did a great job. He fights like a champion. He can pass through tribulation and he can overcome. So I have to be ready for any type of position."

COMMON OPPONENTS

Silva and Belfort have two high-caliber opponents in common -- Rich Franklin and Dan (Hendo) Henderson.

Silva chocked out Henderson (26-8) at UFC 82 almost three years ago, while Belfort dropped a unanimous decision to the Strikeforce light-heavyweight at PRIDE 33.

Franklin (28-5), who has been knocked out by both men, said it's hard to predict who will walk away with the title.

"They're similar because they're both Brazilian, southpaws and have wins over me," Franklin joked. "They're both effective strikers, are fast and use good footwork. Stylistically, they're both different fighters. They're both effective in their own rights and it will be interesting to see how this plays out if it turns out to be a standup fight."


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