Alan Belcher is hoping to silence his critics on Saturday night at UFC 93 by imposing his will on PRIDE veteran Denis Kang.
Belcher told FiveOuncesOfPain.com in an exclusive interview that he will be looking to make a statement against Kang to show the UFC’s middleweight division that he means business.
The 24 year old Biloxi, Mississipi native impressed many back in December of 2006 when he knocked out Jorge Santiago with one of the more brutal head kicks ever seen in the UFC but has been hot and cold since then. Following a decision win over Ed Herman, Belcher expects to look impressive against Kang on his way to legitimizing himself as one of the top dogs at185.
How long he will stay at 185 is up to speculation as Belcher confirmed with FiveOuncesOfpain that he hopes to make the move up to UFC’s stacked light heavyweight division sometime very soon.
Cory Brady: So I heard that you had you first mixed martial arts bout at the age of 14. What was that like?
Alan Belcher: It was a lot different of a game back then than it is now. We were practicing jiu-jitsu and kind of playing around with some of the people that I train with and my trainer, Max Bishop, would put on these NHB shows at a local sports bar. I ended up seeing some of those fights and I ended up wanting to do that pretty bad so I ended up getting my chance when I was fourteen years old. I was a pretty big kid, I was probablyy like 175-180 pounds when I was fourteen so I looked like an adult.
Cory Brady: Were you ridiculously nervous going into that fight? I heard the guy that you ended up fighting was like 30 years old.
Alan Belcher: Oh yeah, absolutely. I was really nervous. It was like a street fight for me so it was all adrenaline. It was a really cool experience, I tried to get all of my friends to come watch and I was showing everyone the tape. I was really just having a good time. I never would have thought back then that I would have made a career out of it. It never even occurred to me that I could make a living at fighting until a few years later.
Cory Brady: So who ended up winning that fight?
Alan Belcher: I won by submission, believe it or not. I got him with a Kimura from side control.
Cory Brady: Tell me a little bit about Remix MMA. It looks like you have something for everyone down there.
Alan Belcher: I’m just trying to build a good program for the local people down there in Biloxi, Mississippi. Our jiu-jitsu coach used to train Anderson Silva and he was one of the original guys from the Chute Boxe camp. We’ve got some really good guy teaching the muay thai and a good wrestling program, we have something for everyone down there. Just getting it all together but it is absolutely the best place on the Gulf Coast as far as MMA gyms go. We have a really good MMA program for children called “Little Ninjas”. Most of the children’s programs that I have seen for kids are kind of supplemental just for them to have a kids program, just to have an extra class or for them to pay the bills and that kind of stuff but we really focus on the kid’s down at Remix MMA. We have a really diverse group of people down there and we really have a buch of teens and younger people down there and we want to keep building on that. We even have a pre-school program that starts at four years old.
Cory Brady: Who are some of the key people that have been helping you prepare for Denis Kang?
Alan Belcher: Duke Roufus has really been helping me out for a while and of course Red Schafer is fighting on the card as well so we’ve been sparring a lot and he has been helping me with my jiu-jitsu. He tries to take me down and I try to keep it on the feet. Back at home I have Rodney Duran, my boxing coach, he is always keeping me in shape and keeping my hands sharp and all of that. He’s always calling me on the phone and keeping me focused, telling me to run and all of that, he’s like my life coach. Pat Barry has been stepping it up as a coach since his UFC debut. He’s cracking the whip on us and making us work hard. he’s always jumping in the rotation and sparring with me and giving me tips. He’s been helping me out a lot as a sparring partner and a coach. I have a good crew up here and I have a good crew in Mississippi so I’m happy.
Cory Brady: What have you been focusing on in the gym since your fight with Ed Herman?
Alan Belcher: I’ve really been focusing on getting stronger and my overall athletic ability. I’ve been spending more than half my time training just my overall performance like speed and agility and all of that kind of stuff. I’m trying to become a monster basically.
Cory Brady: How do you feel you match up with Kang?
Alan Belcher: I think it’s a really good match up. I have the edge on striking and I think that he has the edge on the jiu-jitsu but I think that my takedown defense is going to be a lot better than he’s going to expect. He’ll have to come in my range to grab me and I feel like I can dominate him in the clinch. I have the height and the reach on him so it makes a good clinch for me and those factors will help me on the outside as well. I don’t think he’s going to be able to get me on the ground and if he does he’s not going to be able to stop me. I’m looking for the knockout in this one for sure. I was kind of careful in my last fight but I feel like I have another knockout coming to me. I have the power it’s just a matter of me going in there and letting my hands go. Either way, I have a lot of ways to beat him but I have a feeling that a big one is going to connect.
Cory Brady: Are you hoping that he tries to stand and trade with you?
Alan Belcher: He’s not stupid, he’s a veteran. He’s not going to come in there like a madman. He’s going to try to get me comfortable on my feet and then look for a takedown. You might see him catch me, you might see him drop me and you may see him take me down in the first round but the second and the third round are mine.
Cory Brady: I know you spent some time training it Thailand a bit ago. What was that experience like?
Alan Belcher: It was a great experience. I really go to fine tune a lot of my techniques down there. When you’re training MMA it’s hard to focus on some of the finer details in any specific element so it was really good for that. I’m planning on going back at some point but that trip was a really good experience for me and I learned a lot from it.
Cory Brady: What can people expect to see from Alan Belcher in the future?
Alan Belcher: My goal, is to become the best fighter in MMA and definitely the best striker. I think I’m getting closer at becoming the best striker. I’m looking at that belt though. I’m starting to get the confidence and realizing that it is actually possible for me to become champion so I’m going to start coming after some guys. If the UFC is cool with it I wouldn’t mind going up to 205 and getting a couple fights in there.
Cory Brady: So you’re considering a move up?
Alan Belcher: Oh yeah. I would definitely fight Rich Franklin or Dan Henderson at 205. It would be interesting just to take a break from cutting weight. I want to stay busy and keep fighting a lot and it would make it a lot easier if I didn’t have to worry about cutting weight all the time.
Cory Brady: What do you walk around at typically?
Alan Belcher: When I’m really training I’m usually around 215 but I have to work hard to stay there. Getting down to 210 is a little tougher and then down from there is obviously extremely difficult. I’d like to get a couple fights at light heavyweight before I move up permanently but the goal is to get the middleweight belt and then move up. I definitely want to move up in the future because I want to do this for a long time and I can’t see myself making the cut to middleweight forever.