Vitor Belfort Shrugs Off UFC: Rio Snub; Excited To Fight Akiyama

Vitor Belfort made a strong push to be on the UFC: Rio fight card in August, their first event in his homeland in over a decade, describing it as “my dream”, but alas it was not to be.

Instead Belfort now finds himself fighting earlier in the month against Yoshihiro Akiyama at UFC 133 in Philadelphia.

While it wasn’t his first choice, it appears that ‘The Phenom’ has quickly adapted to the change and is looking forward to getting back into the Octagon.

“I’m excited,” Belfort tells MMAjunkie. “It’s a joyful time. Now I have a date, and I have an opponent. I’m excited about it.”

And he remains philosophical about the reason he was left off the UFC: Rio card.

“The UFC needed me in Philadelphia, and anything Dana White and Lorenzo Fertitta need from me, I’m there for them. I fight for the UFC and the fans,” he says.

Regardless of where the fight with Akiyama takes place, Belfort plans to put on a show, and stake his claim for another shot at Anderson Silva’s middleweight title as quickly as possible.

“”I want to win this fight for my legacy, and I want a title shot again,” Belfort said. “Akiyama is a tough opponent. He’s a nice guy, but it’s going to be a war. I’m going to go in there 100 percent, and I’m going there to knock him out or submit him. I’m going to be there to bring the heat. I know he will be there to bring the heat, too, so be ready. Don’t miss it.”

Ross launched MMA Insight (previously in 2009 as a way to channel his passion for the sport of mixed martial arts. He's since penned countless news stories and live fight reports along with dozens of feature articles as the lead writer for the site, reaching millions of fans in the process.