Vitor Belfort says he has an opponent for his ONE Championship debut.
Belfort, who signed with ONE Championship in early 2019, recently told AsianMMA.com he has accepted a fight with hulking Hong Kong-based heavyweight Alain Ngalani.
“I like it,” Belfort said of Ngalani. “He’s a very tough competitor. Very skilled and very strong, a big man. That’s what I’m looking for—for a good challenge.”
While this is the first time Belfort has gone on record saying he’s accepted this fight, the bout has seemingly been on the table for some time.
Speaking to South China Morning Post recently, Ngalani revealed that a fight with Belfort was in the works before the coronavirus pandemic took hold.
“Well, I had a call from Chatri at the beginning of the year, and we were preparing for what he said was the biggest fight for me, the biggest of the year,” Ngalani said, teasing his matchup with Belfort. “It was to be announced, but then because of the virus everything has been on hold.
“I don’t really want to mention it right now because it’s still under negotiation, so I don’t want to throw it out there, but there has been talk for me first to go into a super fight,” he said. “There’s a few names. Among others, we have Vitor Belfort who is a megastar and it would be a pleasure for me and a huge fight for me to have with him. But nothing is sure yet.
“This is a once in a lifetime thing. Personally Vitor Belfort has been a megastar for me and a huge, huge, huge influence. It’s an honour if ever I have to cross him.”
Vitor Belfort has not fought since he was knocked out by Lyoto Machida in May, 2018. This bout marked his final UFC appearance. He signed with ONE not long thereafter.
Alain Ngalani, who is a first and foremost a kickboxer and Muay Thai competitor, is 4-5 in MMA. In his last fight, he was knocked out by former Cage Warriors heavyweight champ Mauro Cerilli.
Amid the ever-changing situation caused by the coronavirus pandemic, it’s not clear when this fight will happen. The pair will presumably meet at heavyweight.
This article first appeared on BJPENN.com on 4/28/2020.