Vitor Belfort finds inspiration outside of mixed martial arts, even has he prepares to meet Anderson Silva for the middleweight title at UFC 126 on Feb. 5 at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas. Former heavyweight boxing champion Mike Tyson has had a heavy influence on “The Phenom.”
“I was at his house and met his family,” Belfort told Radio Portal do Vale Tudo in Brazil. “I met his daught and wife, who is pregnant. It’s always nice to be in touch with people like him.”
Tyson, now 44, made history in 1986, when he won the WBC heavyweight championship at the age of 20, defeating the late Trevor Berbick by second-round technical knockout. He won his first 37 professional fights.
“Mike Tyson is a big idol, and he crossed the boundaries of sport,” Belfort said. “He was a great inspiration to many athletes and in my career since I was a child. We have much in common and had fame too soon. We always have good conversations.”
Belfort, who was 19 years old when he debuted in the UFC in 1997, believes Tyson’s expertise should be valued more and even invited the Brooklyn, N.Y., native to join his camp.
“I told him that he’s used badly, because he has great views of fighting,” Belfort said. “He knows a lot of martial arts, but they aren’t given the proper value. He said he wanted to be part of my camp, and it was a pleasure to be part of my training. I told him to come in and give me some tips. He’s an important person in the sport and was a great motivator for many successful fighters. I think it’s important to have a recovery.”
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