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Vitor Belfort Finally Healthy, Awaiting UFC 117 Winner

If not for his decision to have shoulder surgery last spring, Vitor Belfort would have already had his crack at UFC middleweight champ Anderson Silva. Instead he chose to take care of a lingering injury, and now finds himself awaiting the winner of Silva's title fight against Chael Sonnen at UFC 117, though he doesn't sound like he regrets the decision one bit.

As the Las Vegas Sun reports, the surgery on Belfort's labrum has allowed him to get off painkillers for "the first time in more than 18 months." If you do the math on that, it means Belfort was fighting through injuries against both Matt Lindland and Rich Franklin. Good thing he ended both those fights early with first-round knockouts.

According to the 33 year-old Belfort, the decision to finally break down and have the surgery came not so much as a result of the pain, but rather a concern over career longevity.

"I had been taking [cortisone] shots the last couple camps to keep fighting," Belfort said. "Everyone was saying, 'You need surgery,' but I wasn't at peace with that. ...I went to the best doctor in Brazil, and he showed me the number of fighters who keep fighting and make their careers short. You can't fight numbers."

Now Belfort is back in the gym with trainer Shawn Tompkins in Las Vegas, and the Brazilian won't say who he thinks will have the belt once the dust clears in Oakland after UFC 117.

Tompkins, however, seems to have sided with the matchmakers that have pegged Silva a 4-1 favorite, predicting that Sonnen, who "talks better than he fights," will get knocked out once he finally steps in the cage with Silva.

While a fight with Silva might be the more glamorous option for Belfort, who would no doubt like to knock off a pound-for-pound great and live up to his once promising potential, in an interview with Tatame recently it sounded as if Belfort is also no great fan of Sonnen's recent open letter to fans, wherein he took shots at Silva and the Nogueira brothers:

"There's nothing to say, right? I'm a person of few words. I don't like this kind of promotion, mainly because Minotauro and Minotouro are wonderful persons, great athletes, also don't speak to much, they're respectful, have never disrespected anybody... I got a little upset about it. You reap what you sow, so that's it. I have nothing else to say, I'm not that kind of guy."

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