(pic via Ryan Loco)

I don’t speak a lick of Portuguese, but evidently it is a language rich in figurative expressions. During yesterday’s UFC 152 media conference call, Vitor Belfort said he felt like “a young dinosaur” ahead of his title bout with Jon Jones. Quote:

“There were times I had depression in the past. Now I’m just there having fun. For me, fighting Jon Jones, I never in my life thought I’d be at the high level I’m at. I’m like a young dinosaur.”

It is not immediately clear what Belfort meant. Perhaps he meant that he feels capable of quick, vigorous movement even though modern history remembers him as slow. Perhaps he named a specific kind of dinosaur—Vitor feels like a young Tyrannosaurus—and his translator could not remember the English word. Maybe Belfort feels like a young brachiosaur, calmly floating in his pool as he extends his neck to munch nutritious greens. If that’s the case, I would say he is in Jones’s head.

Yesterday was not the first time a strange message washed up on the shore of Portuguese translation. Anderson Silva triggered a burst of internet scholarship in 2008 when, explaining why his US academy was called “Team Noguiera,” he told Tatame that “it’s the boss’s car, and I think it has to be kept that way.” Brazilian grandmothers everywhere nodded sagely.

No responsible analysis of Belfort’s “young dinosaur” remark can ignore his age. At 35, he is rapidly approaching the time when pro fighters go underground and turn into oil. Perhaps that is what he meant when he said that he has overcome depression and is now “just there having fun.” For Vitor, the light heavyweight division is a romp across the Cretaceous savannah. His body is old and his eggs have been eaten by proto-raccoons, but he feels great.

Either that or he remembers what Jones did to Shogun. In that case Belfort probably means that he feels like UFC 152 is an asteroid in the sky, and it just keeps getting bigger.

(Dan Brooks is the man who runs the most excellent Combat Blog, and for the entire month of September he will also be gracing us with his guestblogging presence here at Fightlinker.)