UFC middleweight Alan Belcher has a big fight on his hands coming up at UFC 159 where he is slated to face Michael Bisping in the co-main event.
Both Belcher and Bisping are as colorful as they are talented, so as one can imagine, the barbs are already flying. Belcher was a guest on Wednesday’s BJPENN.Com radio show where he had plenty to say about his future opponent.
Belcher made headlines weeks ago when he offered up a bet that said if Bisping could knock out the Mississippi-born fighter in the first round of their bout, he’d have to get a tattoo of the British flag on his chest. If Bisping lost, he’d in turn have to get the same Johnny Cash tattoo that Belcher sports on his left arm. When that bet failed to get Bisping’s attention, Belcher then found the support of current Cincinnati Bengal Wallace Gilberry, who offered up his Rolls Royce worth $300,000 if Bisping could beat his friend at UFC 159.
“That was (Gilberry’s) own idea and he did that on the spot, right then,” Belcher said. “I don’t expect Bisping to take that bet, although he does make pretty good damn money. He definitely knows better than that. He’s not going to bet. He’s worried about this fight. He knows that I hit hard and he knows that I’m not a Brian Stann, that’s not my only chance. He would have to be on the top of his game to even get me down to the ground and to hold me down is another story. I’m bigger and I’m stronger and I’m going to whoop Bisping at UFC 159. That’s all there is to it.”
Belcher was spurred to place his initial wager after hearing that Bisping said he would defeat the Mississippi native in the first round.
“It’s kinda disrespectful to say that you guarantee that you’re going to take somebody out in the first round,” Belcher said. “I’m not saying I’ve never lost a fight in the first round. In all of my fights, and not just including my pro fights but amateur (MMA), amateur boxing, amateur kickboxing, BJJ, no-gi, anything that I have ever done, I got put to sleep one time and I got TKO’d one time and that’s it. And I never even went down when I got TKO’d, I was still on my feet. I’m a durable person. I don’t think anyone is just going to come in and stomp me, especially after they already went ahead and said that they’re going to stomp me in the first round. That’s a big hell no. You ain’t going to do that, I guarantee it. But I ain’t worried about that. I’m worried about how I’m going to win, not how I’m going to lose.”
All bets aside, ‘The Talent’ is no dummy. He knows that Bisping is a tough out for any middleweight in the world.
“He’s a very hard person to beat. He knows how to play the game,” Belcher said. “He knows how to win the rounds; he knows how to win exchanges, he knows how to win fights. That’s the most dangerous thing about Michael Bisping; the hustle, the way he plays the game, and the fast pace. He sneaks in a takedown or makes sure you can’t get the takedown and makes sure that he finishes the round hard. He’s real fast, he moves around a lot. His takedowns aren’t great. He’s not a real wrestler and on the ground, he’s not going to submit me or put me in trouble at all. Standing up, I don’t have to tell you, he doesn’t really have a lot of knockouts. I don’t think he has any at all, especially in the UFC. I’m going to try and hurt him. I’m going to go in there and make him feel the power right off the bat. He doesn’t really understand how hard I punch now or how hard I can kick. I’m going to go forward the whole time.”
Belcher saw a significant hole in Bisping’s loss to Vitor Belfort via a spectacular head kick knockout.
“He’s not very technical, not very knowledgeable on how to kick box,” Belcher said. “You have to be expecting a southpaw to fake a left hand to throw a left head kick and trying to block a kick with one hand; you have to have a little more training than that. He doesn’t know how to block kicks. I’m just a dangerous person for him and that’s a point fighter’s nightmare. His legs are going to be hurting.”
Belcher thinks a win over ‘The Count’ puts him right back in the mix of the division.
“With the way that it’s set up now, it’s going to put me in his spot. He’s No. 3 and I’m going to be right there and I’ll be another fight or two away (from a title shot),” he said. “What I have to do is stay fresh and keep improving. My next few years I just need to go on a tear and get back on a streak. I got a little cocky and a loss lit a fire under my ass. Sometimes that is what you need to wake up.
Belcher has bandied the idea of hosting his own press conference online so he and Bisping can go back-and-forth verbally before physically.
“Someday next month I’m going to host my own press conference online where everybody can tune in, live streaming video and Michael Bisping is going to be able to get on there and say whatever he wants and answer questions from the media and debate me,” Belcher said. “I really am going to do that, whether or not he will accept it. I think that would be huge and everyone would enjoy that. We’ll just take an hour, answer all questions and everyone can write articles all at once and knock that crap out that way we can focus on training.”
Belcher is looking to get back on track after he saw his four-fight win streak snapped by Yushin Okami by decision at UFC 155 in December of 2012. Okami has been on a tear, winning three-straight, and Belcher is respectful of his skills. Belcher heaped plenty of praise and said if he had the opportunity to fight Okami again, he would take a different approach.
“I wish I could get that opportunity but I don’t think that it’s ever going to happen because he has nothing to gain from it,” Belcher said. “But I would probably work on my striking more. I underestimated his striking. I thought I was going to beat him easy, though I did beat him in the striking game, I feel like I could have turned it up a notch and been in a little bit better shape and keep hustling and keep him from trying to take me down. He’s a big middleweight and he’s a strong guy. On the ground I think it’s a mix of his body build and body style mixed with his technique that held me down. I think he’s a really good, technical grappler. His lay and pray is damn good.”
Belcher is known for his slick ground game. His seven of his 18 wins coming via submission. But he vows to get back to a more rock ‘em, sock ‘em style.
“I’m taking it back to the old school,” he said. “I’m going to knock people out and they’re going to have to work their ass off to get me down. I’m still going to be dangerous on the ground. I grapple every single day. I love it. I have a passion for it.”
Belcher, a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt, cautiously weighed in on the controversy surrounding renowned BJJ instructor Lloyd Irvin. Irvin entered the mainstream news when two of his male students were videotaped raping a female teammate. What soon followed were accusations of Irvin sexually assaulting his own students.
“I don’t really know how to answer that in the best way,” Belcher said. “I’m just going to be honest and say it’s not fair to accuse people but when that many things are pointing in your direction and pointing at you then something ain’t right. I can’t say anything from experience and I can’t even really go there. A lot of the things, if they happen to be true, are just disgusting and I know I would kill someone if they ever did that to one of my kids or my daughter. The average UFC fan probably doesn’t know much about it. I’m just embarrassed to even hear about it. Stuff like that goes on and karma is going to come around and bite him in the butt.”Tags: Alan Belcher, Michael Bisping, MMA NEWS, ufc news, yushin okami