Sports

Vitor Belfort, “I’m an old lion, I have tricks”

Vitor Belfort is a huge underdog on the Vegas books less than a month out against Jon Jones, but that isn’t phasing the Phenom. Listen to Belfort for a few minutes and you may just start to think that he has a chance of pulling off the upset.

Like most who first heard of the new Vitor Belfort vs. Jon Jones championship fight, I groaned. I felt like many, that Belfort doesn’t have a prayer of beating arguably the best MMA fighter in the game. However, the more I hear Belfort talk about the fight, the more those +750 odds don’t look like such a bad bet after all.

The former UFC light heavyweight champion was on Ariel Helwani’s MMA Hour Monday, as well as Inside MMA. Belfort talked about his upcoming fight against Jones and explained to both shows why he thinks he will beat the champ. In addition to the pep talk, Belfort also took a fun shot at this week’s most hated fighter in MMA.

When I heard the show was going to get cancelled, I offered myself. I text Lorenzo, ‘Lorenzo, you know me, I come from the old school, I just start my camp, if you need me to save the show to fight Jones, not to fight anybody else, because that’s what people want to see, they want to see Jones fight … if somebody got hurt, if you need me, just let me know. They trust me so much and I am a different type of guy, I accomplished so much things, I come from the old school and they know me, I am down to replace, I am used to that. The sport is evolved and these new fighters are worried about their careers and their status. I just want to go out there and fight and put up a great fight. I am ready most of the time and that’s the way it is. You have to be secure and you have to be committed to the organization and the fans. And we are joyful for this opportunity, fighting one the best fighters of all time, this young champion Jon Jones.

Look, I don’t expect Jones to get on any of these shows and pick Jones in the fight. But the bravado Belfort is preaching may just be enough to turn this from a massacre into a must-see fight. Of course talking doesn’t win fights (or Chael Sonnen would hold every title on earth), but it is nice to see Belfort do a little promoting.

I’m an old lion, I have tricks, you know what I mean? I’ve been around. I’ve take all kinds of beatings in life, not just inside Octagon, but outside as well. It’s just using my experience and using my knowledge and getting ready. … I like him (Jones) as well, he’s very nice, very polite, so soft spoken, and a great athlete. That’s good, the sport’s getting bigger. How many guys from my era are around. Not much? How many guys from when I was fighting and winning my first title in ’96, I don’t know what Jon Jones was doing [then]. I’m privileged to fight a guy like him, It’s a privilege to me. I never thought I’d be around that much, 17 years of a career, and having this chance for the light heavyweight title. It’s a title that I had before in 2004. Here I am again with this opportunity.”

The Phenom makes an interesting case here. He is the old lion and he does have a lot of tricks. Unfortunately those tricks didn’t block a sick kick to the chin against Anderson Silva, but those tricks have won 7 of Vitor’s last 8 fights. He has some nice things to say about Jones here, but quickly takes a subtle shot at Bones.

I’m a legend. I’m a legend, I’m not a diva, that is why i take this fight. I’m ready man, I’m ready to bring what people like what the fans like, what UFC likes, what its all about. That’s the UFC, its not boxing. We can not let the UFC become like boxing. This is the UFC, it’s different, its all about the sport. I live for that. I’m one of the guys that helped build the sport so, I’m privileged to fight Jon Jones.

I got a kick out of the “I’m a legend, I’m not a diva” line. Quite frankly I’d expect to see that played up more over the next few weeks. I’d also expect to see some kind of storyline created out of that line. The legend vs. the diva is something I have a feeling a few MMA fans who said they had no interest in buying the fight may wind up latching onto over the next few weeks.

Can Belfort seriously pull off the upset? Everyone likes to talk about Belfort being in the “right frame of mind” to win the fight. Belfort really needs to blitz Bones at the bell to win this fight. Belfort looked way too cautious against Anderson Silva and never brought the fight to The Spider. Jones has never seen the striking onslaught that Belfort is known for. I don’t see any reason that Belfort can’t land a lucky punch in a fist fight with Jones. On the other hand, Jones will pick him apart if Belfort plays it safe.

I’ll admit it, I am a lot more excited for this fight after hearing from the challenger.

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Eric G.

Eric is the owner and editor-in-chief of the Camel Clutch Blog. Eric has worked in the pro wrestling industry since 1995 as a ring announcer in ECW and a commentator/host on television, PPV, and home video. Eric also hosted Pro Wrestling Radio on terrestrial radio from 1998-2009. Check out some of Eric's work on his IMDB bio and Wikipedia. Eric has an MBA from Temple University's Fox School of Business.

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