UFC Middleweight contender Vitor "The Phenom" Belfort had to withdraw from a title fight against Anderson "The Spider" Silva at UFC 112 in Abu Dhabi. It was revealed that Belfort had a chronic shoulder injury that prevented him from fighting at his full potention. In an exclusive interview to TATAME.com Belfort talks about his future, injury and who can challenge Silva for the UFC Middleweight Title:
"I have this problem since last year. I felt my shoulder and did an infiltration to the fight against Jorge Santiago. Then I did it three more times. I was going to fight Anderson in January, but I kept training hard and the UFC was forced to postpone the fight. We did a MRI and doc Michel Simoni, one of the best in Brazil and well known overseas, said there was no way, to be 100% I’d have to stop. Now I’ll be back only five months from now."
Having this problem for a year, means that Belfort fought the former Champion Rich Franklin with an already injured shoulder. "The Phenom" revealed that he was unaware of how serious his injury was, and it has nothing to do with the difference between Rich Franklin and Anderson Silva:
"I had this injury and didn’t know how bad it was, and it only got worse. It was getting worse and then, three fights later, my shoulder couldn’t handle it anymore. The rhythm is intense, this injury was in the left shoulder and that’s bad, because I’m a southpaw. I am not afraid to fight Anderson like many people say."
Vitor Belfort's withdrawal with just 2 months before the title fight put UFC in a very difficult situation. With Chael Sonnen in the mix and the fellow Brazilian Demian Maia as an already confirmed replacement, Belfort refused to discuss their chances against "The Spider":
"I will mind my own business… I’ll take care of myself, in what I have to do. Anyone inside there has chances; the important is going there confident. They are both a very good fighters. The only thing I can say is that my opponent should be careful for when I come back."
Vitor Belfort is currently 19-8 in his Mixed Martial Arts career, and is expected to make his return in November or December. Belfort's replacement, Demian Maia, will have to wait until he is cleared by Athletic Commission to fight Anderson Silva, before the UFC officially announce the fight.