UFC 126 Preview: Vitor Belfort Talks Respect, Not Intimidated By Anderson Silva

Brian Oswald@@briancoswaldMMA Editor February 3, 2011

DALLAS - SEPTEMBER 19:  UFC fighter Vitor Belfort  (L) battles UFC fighter Rich Franklin (R) during their Catch weight bout at UFC 103: Franklin vs. Belfort at the American Airlines Center on September 19, 2009 in Dallas, Texas.  (Photo by Jon Kopaloff/Getty Images)
Jon Kopaloff/Getty Images

One of the staple media events held the week leading up to the big fight card is the open workouts.

It is an opportunity for the fighters to warm up on the mat by sparring with their trainers, and also, it gives journalists in attendance the chance to get up close and personal with the fighters. 

One thing different about this event was the amount of fans in attendance; several hundred gathered in the stands to see their favorite fighter break a sweat. 

One fighter in particular that resonated with his fans was Vitor Belfort. After warming up, he gave an impromptu speech, telling fans that the most important thing in life is respect. 

Talking to the reporters after, Belfort spoke more about respect and his love for the fans.

"You see those guys over there, they just move my heart. They leave their homes, they leave their city to come and buy expensive tickets. No matter if they are rooting for me or my opponent, the purpose was you came here to watch us, and I am honored. This is sincere from my heart and I want to thank them. Respect is so important right now, it is the most important thing in life, so never negotiate that."

Belfort was then asked if he felt like Anderson Silva respected him.

"How do you know if a piece of fruit is good, you have to bite it. His actions speak louder then his words. Sure I think he respects me, a side of him. He wears the mask though, tries to intimidate. He can see in my eyes though, I am a fighter. I don't get intimated by anyone. Even if I knock him out, or I get knocked out, I am here to put on a show for you guys. So, I am not going to get intimidated by anyone and he knows that...so I think he respects me." 

There has been talk out there that Vitor Belfort is afraid of Anderson Silva. Even Wanderlei Silva quipped about it in regard to Belfort having to pull out of his UFC 112 fight with Silva back in April.

"I really wanted to watch this fight between him and Anderson, I think it would be great, but it seems that he saw Anderson upset and got injured, I don’t know... A big black guy upset, I think I would get hurt too (laughs)," Wanderlei told tatame.com back in April of 2010. 

Regardless of what the naysayers speculate, Belfort certainly sounded confident today...and did his part to talk the talk. On Saturday night, when he steps into the Octagon with the man many consider the greatest UFC champion of all time, he will have the chance to walk the walk and in doing so, look to secure his spot as one of the most storied fighters in the history of the sport.