LAS VEGAS -- Vitor Belfort might live in a world that's a little different than the one the rest of us call home. But he's still a human being capable of showing empathy for others.
The former UFC light heavyweight champion was cageside Saturday night for Anderson Silva's gruesome leg injury during his bout with Chris Weidman, one which may very well spell the end of the 38-year-old's distinguished career.
And speaking to reporters before the UFC 168 post-fight news conference at the MGM Grand, Belfort said he has sympathy for the fallen former champ.
"I was sad," said Belfort, who was knocked out by Silva in 2011. "I was shocked. I feel it. That's not, I think nobody wants to end like that. It's part of the job. In football we have injuries, in soccer we have injuries, in fighting we have injuries. People break things. it's a contact sport. It's part of the job. I just feel sad."
The 36-year old Belfort has been around since UFC 12, but his long years in the sport haven't made him immune from sights such as Silva being taken out of the Octagon on a stretcher.
"I have been fighting for 18 years," Belfort said. "People don't understand how hard you work to perform, of course you have to sacrifice with your family and travel. So to imagine an injury like that, I feel for him."
Belfort, the winner of three consecutive fights, all via knockout head kick, next in line for a shot at Weidman's title. When asked what such an opportunity means for him, Belfort started to get philsophical.
"There's a title on guy named Chris Weidman and it belongs to me," Belfort said. "In 18 years, I don't know what you guys were doing 18 years ago, but just think about it. Eighteen years ago, I was fighting two guys in the same night. "
Belfort won the heavyweight tournament at UFC 12 and later held the 205-pound belt, so as far as he's concerned, a victory over Weidman (fight's time and place TBD) would make him a three weight class champion.
"No one has one titles in three different divisions and that's what's going to happen in 2014," Belfort said.
Belfort sidestepped questions about whether he wishes to face Weidman in Brazil, or here in the United States. Belfort, who has been a lightning rod over the issue of testosterone replacement therapy, would face greater scrutiny in the U.S. than in his homeland, since he has a prior steroid offense on his record after a 2007 PRIDE fight in Las Vegas.
"I have fans everywhere. I have all the respect of the sport. ... I've realized my dream. America, China, Russia, Abu Dhabi, Brazil, Mexico. I come from all countries. Now I'm representing the world."