What is it about Vitor Belfort that makes him so likable?
Is it his upbeat attitude and positive outlook on life? Is it his unwavering belief in the good in himself and other people? Is it his ability to finish fights with devastating highlight-reel knockouts with either hand? Is it the fact that Vitor is a legend in the sport who has gone through ups and downs that have helped him to build a loyal following of fans that have followed him through the ups and downs of his career?
Vitor is a class act. He always shows respect not just to his opponents but to everyone he meets and he’s always trying to inspire others around him to do their best and overcome challenges.
Watching the UFC 152 pre-fight press conference and the weigh-ins, it seems clear that Vitor is a guy without an agenda. Or at least if he has one, he makes no secret about it. He wants to win and he believes it’s a 50/50 shot for both him and his opponent.
At the face-offs Vitor greets his opponent with a smile and looks him squarely in the eyes. His opponent, however, seems to take an Anderson Silva approach, sometimes avoiding eye contact altogether or taking an overly-serious tone towards his opponent.
Why does this stuff matter? As far as winning or losing a fight it doesn’t. But when it comes to representing the sport and winning fans, trying to put on fronts and act disingenuous will not help your cause.
Vitor is a class act. The way he conducted himself at the pre-fight press conference just reminded all of us how cool a guy Vitor Belfort is. Every time he opens his mouth, the guy is sharing an inspirational story or idea to help other be better.
Vitor doesn’t separate himself from other fighters, the media or the fans. He is human and doesn’t pretend or act like he’s special or different. Maybe that’s why people love to love Vitor, because they can identify with him and he doesn’t try to act like he’s better.
One word sums up the difference between the current defending Light Heavyweight Champ and the challenge; humility.
That is usually the difference you’ll find between a young lion and an old one. The old lion has been to the top, fallen and knows what it’s like to be on top of the world and then nowhere close in fast succession. The old lion has been around long enough to realize how quickly the tides can change in a matter of minutes.
The young lion may need to learn from experience, and perhaps this upcoming fight will be such an opportunity.
One thing that is certain, win or lose, Vitor Belfort will continue to be a fan favorite for the rest of his fights.