On Saturday, Vitor Belfort returns to the Octagon for the first time since nearly dethroning UFC champion Jon Jones back in September. His hotly anticipated homecoming at Brazil's UFC on FX 7 will headline the card, as he takes on Ultimate Fighter winner Michael Bisping.
Heading into the contest, we still have some unanswered questions about "The Phenom." Let's review those uncertainties in preparation for tonight's showdown.
The human body has to pump oxygen to its muscles. The more muscles you have, the more oxygen you need. When looking at the physique of Vitor Belfort, it makes a lot of sense why his conditioning has been historically suspect.
In an interview with MMAfighting.com, Michael Bisping commented on how he plans to use "The Phenom's" flaw against him.
But I think I'll weather the storm and he'll become a punching bag. It's well documented, rightly or wrongly, that Vitor gasses quickly. He does slow down after the first round. Obviously, early for me is going to be the most dangerous. The longer the fight goes, he'll start turning into a walking punching bag.
Even if Belfort's cardio has greatly improved through training, we can't discredit the fact that body punches from Michael Bisping are absolutely devastating to anyone's conditioning.
After a PRIDE 32 clash against Dan Henderson, a post-fight drug test marked Vitor Belfort positive for elevated levels of testosterone. The former UFC champion claims that it was due to rehabilitative injections given after surgery to repair a torn meniscus.
There is a fair chance that is a true story. However, the reason that fans believe Belfort might be secretly using the controversial TRT exemption lies in a peculiar answer that he gave when directly asked about it by ESPN.
If a question is private, I have the choice to answer or not. If I make it public, it's not private anymore. If I want to say something private I will say it, but I keep to myself and I respect the laws of the sport. Whatever the organization, whatever the law – they know what to do. This is too controversial, why am I going to say something that doesn't accomplish anything? If it's legal, they know what to do. If it's legal, there's nothing to say about it. It's legal.
Talk about evasive. What exactly are you hiding Mr. Belfort?
Vitor Belfort looks down on trash talking opponents. He has made that fairly clear when describing the unofficial warrior code. Not only does he feel that it's disrespectful, but he acknowledges the effect that words can have on a fight.
"Words are so powerful they can penetrate peoples heart and create a very bad foundation."
Michael Bisping just so happens to be one of the most effective trash talkers in the business today. Not only does "The Count" get under your skin, but he finds your buttons and pushes whatever he knows will drive you up a wall.
At the weigh-in for UFC on FX 7, Bisping hit below the belt when he exclaimed to Belfort, "There's no Jesus!" during their stare down.
This was a very personal attack for Belfort, who has fully embraced Christ as his personal savior and makes no qualms about sharing that faith with others.
Does Belfort recognize this as game playing on the part of Bisping? Or, will he allow it to eat at his mindset, fill him with rage and force him to fight with a clouded or distorted mindset?