UFC middleweight-turned-light heavyweight contender Vitor Belfort has been fighting professionally since 1996, encountering many of MMA’s biggest names along the way including Wanderlei Silva, Dan Henderson, Chuck Liddell, Tito Ortiz, and Randy Couture. However, whether for reasons of pre-fight hype or self-motivation, Belfort sees current 205-pound champion Jon Jones as being in a league of his own.
Belfort was asked to weigh in on his September 22 bout with Jones on this week’s episode of Inside MMA where he tabbed “Bones” as the best fighter the sport has ever seen.
“I’m just so pleasured to fight a guy like Jon Jones, being the greatest fighter of all time,” said Belfort who labeled himself as an “old lion” who is “hungry”. “He’s improving the sport. He’s a young guy with a lot of abilities, so it’s such an honor for a guy like me, who has been around for 17 years to fight a guy like Jon Jones.”
Regarding the way his match-up with Jones came about, Belfort expressed no ill feelings towards the polarizing title-holder’s handling of a last minute meeting with Chael Sonnen in hopes of saving UFC 151 from being cancelled.
“A lot of fighters today, they are more into the sport. The new generation, they’re getting prepared. They’re studying their opponents,” explained Belfort, pointing to the evolution of MMA. “I used to fight in the Carlson Gracie time and we fight every day in the gym. So taking this fight in such short notice and going up a division, it’s an awesome journey in myself.”
“I’m not going to be here judging anybody, especially Jon Jones’ camp and himself. He fought all the champions he fought; that guy isn’t scared of anyone and I know that for sure. That’s a fact,” he concluded.
Belfort and Jones are set to serve as headliners at UFC 152. The bout will mark Jones’ fourth defense of his divisional belt, while Belfort has come out with his hand raised in two straight tilts with both wins coming by way of a first-frame finish.
PHOTO CREDIT – UFC