Although he was already scheduled to fight Alan Belcher at UFC 153, being the great fighter that he is, Vitor Belfort made the big decision to step in and fight Jones after he heard that UFC 151 was going to be canceled.
“When I heard the show was going to get canceled, I offered myself. I said ‘Lorenzo, you know me, I come from the old school, if you need me to save the show to fight Jones … if somebody got hurt, if you need me, just let me know.'”
After speaking with Lorenzo Fertitta, the promotion decided to give the fight to Belfort, for UFC 152 on September 22nd.
“I have a lot of respect for Jon Jones,” said Belfort. “I’m very grateful for opportunity. Stepping into this fight, its old lion vs. young lion, so it’s pretty cool.”
“I’m an old lion, I have tricks, you know what I mean?” asked Belfort, “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 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.”
Being the classy fighter that he is, when asked how he felt about Jones’ decision to turn a fight down with Chael Sonnen, Belfort wouldn’t give his thoughts, but he does feel that he deserves this chance at the light heavyweight belt.
“I know Jon Jones and his camp has his [reasons], they know what is best from them, I’m not going to take any position on that,” Belfort said. “He’s a grown-up boy, he has his crew, his manager, they made their choice, that’s the choice that’s best for them. If he didn’t make that choice, I wouldn’t have the chance, so I’m very happy he didn’t take the [Sonnen] fight. I think [Chael Sonnen] didn’t deserve [a shot at Jones because of] the loss [to Anderson Silva], the way he lost. I think someone deserves it, but [Sonnen] doesn’t have a history in that weight division in the UFC. I have history in that division, I have history at the heavyweight division, I have history at the middleweight division, I think it’s fair, they way it end up. I think the fans are getting something that’s fair. I think, basically, what I think is right, what I think is wrong, I can only speak for myself.”
Belfort himself had to recently pull out of his main-card fight at UFC 147 against Wanderlei Silva due to a broken hand, but he says the hand is all healed and he’s ready for the bout.
“God gave me the opportunity, now I’m going to earn it,” he said. “It’s all about how much you want it.”
Source: MMA Fighting