With an impending title fight against MMA’s deadliest marksman just around the UFC 126 corner, many were curious why Vitor Belfort opted to part ways with striking coach Shawn Tompkins. Well, it appears the middleweight top contender was busy courting boxing legend Mike Tyson to help him hone his hands for Anderson Silva.
While the stable of studs Xtreme Couture houses is likely the primary reason Belfort jumped ship, it doesn’t mean “Iron Mike’s” presence won’t be felt during his training camp, nonetheless.
“Mike Tyson is a big idol and he crossed the boundaries of sport,” Belfort told Radio Portal do Vale Tudo in Brazil (via Sherdog). “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.”
Tyson made history in 1986 when he captured the WBC heavyweight crown at the sprightly age of 20. He was perfect through his first 37 professional boxing matches.
Belfort made his Octagon debut when he was only 19 and was flossing the light heavyweight crown roughly six years later. Like many other mixed martial artists, Belfort holds Tyson in the highest regard and believes he can play an integral part in MMA as it continues to grow.
“I told him that he’s used badly, because he has great views of fighting,” Belfort stated. “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 [would be] 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.”
No word if Tyson will hit up the famed gym, as his Evite status is still pending.
UFC 126 takes place February 5th inside the Mandalay Bay Event Center in Las Vegas, Nevada.