clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Vitor Belfort: Chael Sonnen is relieved the UFC didn’t give him to me

New, comments
Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Everybody wants Vitor Belfort.

The former UFC light heavyweight champion meets Dan Henderson at UFC Fight Night 32 in Goiania, Brazil, but a lot of fighters wanted to be in Henderson’s place.

Tim Kennedy, Gegard Mousasi, Chael Sonnen and even the always respectful Lyoto Machida said they wanted to face "The Phenom", and Belfort knows the reason why.

"I’m in a position that everybody wants to fight Vitor Belfort to get to the title," Belfort said on Monday’s edition of The MMA Hour. "The only promotion I can give right now is to the guy I’m fighting next. I’m focused on my division at 185 pounds and I want the winner (of Chris Weidman vs. Anderson Silva 2). I want to fight Dan Henderson then fight for the (middleweight) title. I have to beat Dan Henderson, who is a tough fighter, defeated some of the greatest fighters of all time. It’s a great challenge, a great opportunity for me."

Belfort was reportedly offered to fight Tim Kennedy next, but he says he never declined that bout. He claims that was just "a misunderstanding" and he "will fight anybody", and that Machida was also never offered to him.

Chael Sonnen is a different story.

Right after Sonnen submitted Mauricio 'Shogun' Rua at UFC Fight Night 26, Belfort called him out via Twitter. "The American Gangster" said he was in, but the fight never materialized. Sonnen is relieved, says Belfort.

"He was really relieved that the UFC didn’t give him to me," Belfort said. "He was like ‘I’m glad I don’t have to fight Vitor.’ We have friends in common and one time he was on his camp and (Sonnen) said ‘one of the guys I’d never like to fight is Vitor Belfort.’ I’m cool, man. He’s around, I’m around. One day he’ll have to face me. It’ll be a great fight. One day. Who knows?"

Sonnen was the underdog against "Shogun", but Belfort wasn’t surprised that he won the bout via submission in the first round.

"I’m not surprised, Shogun made a mistake," he said. "But it’s a fight, things can happen. You have to be focused and don’t make mistakes. Every wrestler has a strong guillotine and when you make mistakes and the other capitalizes … It’s MMA. You have to be alert all the time."