This Article originally appeared on BJJ.org. The entire archive of information is now available on OntheMat.com
Interview originally published on The New Full ContactAs appeared in the Brazillian-based Gracie magazine.Translated by Rohan Noronha, edited by Terry Morley.
Gracie Magazine: Vitor Belfort, Vitor Gracie, what’s all the noise about?
Vitor Belfort: Carlson made me an offer to use the Gracie name, because he trusted me a lot, and I could help his and his family’s name. But certain people made a big deal about this, which resulted in family problems, so we decided to put an end to this.
GM: You trained for 2 years in LA, and there were rumors which said you were a purple belt, and others which insisted you were a black belt. What’s the real deal?
VB: Carslon promoted me to black belt when I turned19, and I think I deserved it. I show it when I train, and I’m sure I showed it to UFC fans. I think it’s natural that people question my potential, no one had seen me fight. Now, I deserve some respect.
GM: Your performance was spectacular, how would you describe it?
VB: Carlson expected that from me, and he made me believe in myself so I could give my all. I was surprised with my performance, and I hope I can repeat it in the long road I’ve got left.
GM: Being left-handed, it’s easier for you to break your opponent’s guard, right?
VB: Being left-handed helps, but it’s not fundamental. What’s importnat is the speed, aim and impact. My strongest punch is my right cross punch.
GM: All the punches hit, what an aim…
VB: I develped my boxing skills quickly, and set my aim with out worrying about the damage. If you notice, I dodge Telligman’s attack, and start my sequence. Holyfield did that to Mike Tyson, defended himself well so he could attack.
GM: You knocked out both opponents on your feet and you have what are considered the fastest hands in the UFC. Do you think you could knock-out grapplers, such as Coleman, Kerr and Erikson before they go for the clinch or would there be a different strategy?
VB: I didn’t knock-out my opponents, I applied a knock-down, so they would fall and then I’d use my Jiu-Jitsu on top, to end the fight. The tactic against wrestlers will be a surprise which Carlson is preparing, and I ask the fans to cross their fingers so I can win in the name of Jiu-Jitsu.
GM: Why was it, that when you knocked down Ferrozzo and got his back, that you looked to both sides before punching?
VB: I checked his base, because these guys get up with all their might, and it sometimes works. I saw at the time that he was wearing nylon pants, and decided not to apply hooks to his legs, because nylon is slippery, which I know by training with no gi with Americans.
GM: About a year ago, I met Steve, who was working with your boxing. Now, in Dothan, I was surprised to see another boxing tariner by your side. What happened?
VB: Steve is an excellent trainer, and is working with Carlson athletes. I had a little misunderstanding with him, and met Al Stanky, former trainer of Oscar De La Hoya. I made a name for myself with him, and train a lot at his academy. He has a lot of faith in me. I am working with him for about a year.
GM: He told me after the fight that you should quit NHB and dedicate yourself to boxing, so you could be an olympic champ. Was that a momentary thrill?
VB: I already knocked-out a heavyweight olympic champion of the US team at the academy, and another from Cuba, so they really believe in my potential, in my punching power. I am taking it seriously, and believe in the possibility of doing well in the olympics.
GM: Do you train Boxing more than Jiu-Jitsu?
VB: No. Way more Jiu-Jitsu than Boxing.
GM: What was the repercussion of your win in the world of boxing?
VB: Mike Tyson knows my promoter, John Peters, and phoned me to congratulate me in my performance, so did Don King.
GM: Do you have any messages for the people in Brazil?
VB: The message I send is for people not to fight in the streets, because it ruins Jiu-Jitsu, a sport which was born in our country.