Former UFC light-heavyweight champion, Vitor Belfort, received an unexpected opportunity when Lyoto Machida declined a Sept. 22 bout against current champ Jon Jones, and he plans to make the most of it.
Belfort is now set to challenge Jones for the light-heavyweight title at UFC 152, and he isn't bothered by the fact many expect him to lose when the two square up on Sept. 22, at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto, Canada.
"In the UFC, there are no easy fights," Belfort said. "There may be a quick fight, but it's never easy. You have to prepare very well because you'll regret it if you don't. This is already a struggle. Certainly, he's a great opponent. Otherwise, he wouldn't be the champion. Fighting at a high level motivates me a lot, as I've always tried to do it in my career. I expect a tough fight, but I'll be in my best shape. You can mark it down."
Vitor Belfort hasn't fought as a light-heavyweight since 2007, so he'll definitely have his hands full going against the best 205-pounder in the world.
I wasn't particularly impressed with Belfort's last performance against Anthony Johnson -- who put him on his back a few times during their UFC 142 encounter. Things could have ended up differently for Belfort if he didn't receive any help from referee Dan Miragliotta, who kept standing the fight up as soon as it hit the canvas.
Given how successful Johnson's takedowns were against Belfort, it's safe to say Jones won't have any problems taking the Brazilian down.
Belfort does have some serious punching power in his hands, but getting past Jones' 11-inch reach advantage won't be an easy task. Jones also has a decent arsenal of kicks, making it that much harder to get close to the 25 year-old.
Clearly, Belfort will be in for a rough night when he faces Jones at UFC 152, but he does deserve a lot of credit for stepping up to the plate. Fortunately for Belfort, a loss against Jones won't have any negative impact on his career, so it's a pretty low-risk, high-reward fight for him.
Mike Searson, " Vitor Belfort has three words for Jon Jones: I am ready"
David is a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and boxing practitioner who has watched and studied MMA for the past 9 years. Send him your questions @davidkingwriter.