Vitor Belfort, 36, fights Dan Henderson Saturday at UFC Fight Night 32, live from Brazil on FOX Sports 1. A win would likely get him a shot at the winner of December 28's Weidman vs. Silva UFC 168 main event.
“I deserve it,” Belfort told ESPN. “I want the winner.”
However, with Lyoto Machida in the mix at 185, and loss would leave him far from a title shot.
“I don’t care what people think, talk or say," continued Belfort. "It doesn’t take my focus away. I do want to fight for and win the UFC title, but I don’t need to keep talking about it over and over."
Belfort also battles the perception that he is a cheater, as he regularly receives a Testosterone Use Exemption (TUE) for Testosterone Replacement Therapy from the regulating athletic commission.
However, critics charge that Belfort is avoiding fights in Las Vegas as the Nevada AC is unlikely to issue him a TUE, as he previously tested positive there for illegal PEDs. One common side effect of PED abuse is the body shutting down its natural production of testosterone, and the Nevada AC is loathe to fix a medical issue that could have been caused by breaking the rules.
“The critics are always going to be there,” said Belfort. “If you do it, they will say, ‘he cheated.’ What people don’t know is that we do good work.
“I was the only guy to do blood work. Now Dan Henderson has to go through blood work; it’s in our contract. All the fighters have to do blood work. With the blood work you can track if they use testosterone. We know some guys do it; they do things to cheat. My lab work is right there. My levels are right there, every week.”
“I’m not doing anything illegal. It’s a treatment. Actually, if I go without it I will be at a disadvantage. It will be like the other guy is on something and I’m not.
“If you have asthma you get treatment. If your have high blood pressure, you get treatment for it. This is my treatment. Everybody knows.”
“I’d love to fight in Las Vegas; I’ve fought in Canada. I love fighting in America, I have lots of fans here. I have just as many fans here in America as I have in Brazil. Of course I want to fight here, I live in America.”