Few fighters have been as hot recently as UFC middleweight Alan Belcher. The 28-year old Roufusport product has won his last four fights with finishes in each including three in the opening round of action. This Saturday night, at UFC 155, Belcher will face former #1 contender Yushin Okami in hopes of extending his streak and further establishing his position as one of the top 185ers on the roster.
What Belcher doesn’t expect to do, however, is earn a title-shot.
“Even though Okami is not ranked top contender or anything, as long as he’s around, he’s gonna be a solid top five, top ten guy who will give anybody trouble. He’s legit. This will be the first rematch of my career, so it will be interesting,” began Belcher on the bout in a recent interview with the UFC’s website. “Beating him will make my rank a little more solid, a little more legit, and it will string out my winning streak, but it doesn’t put me as top contender immediately unless I just totally wipe him off the face of the planet in 30 seconds, and I don’t think Okami’s gonna go away.”
“I don’t want a shortcut to the title,” Belcher added on his comfort with not being handed an easy ride. “There’s only a couple guys for me to beat, and I’ll fight all of them in 2013 if I have to until Anderson Silva will fight someone in the weight class.”
First up for Belcher is a shot at revenge. The pair first faced off in 2006 where the Japanese grinder came away with a decision win in what was the UFC debut for both men. While Belcher has shown steady improvement since then, polishing up all aspects of his attack, his counterpart has remained a steady force in the same fashion he’s always applied.
“He’s made minor adjustments, but nothing really life-changing or career-changing. Obviously fighting over the years, the more fights that you have, it gives you more experience and you get better at those things that you can’t really see. But altogether, I think he’s pretty much the same fighter as before and I think that’s one advantage I have,” Belcher said of his opponent’s development or lack thereof. “He’s seen me change and grow and he’s going into this fight thinking that he’s gotta do something totally different because he’s fighting a totally different person. And I’m preparing for him the same way as I would have then because I know what he’s got. He’s got straight punches, strong takedowns, and good control on the ground. He’s not a real finisher, but he grinds and keeps coming, he’s a good athlete, and I’m sure he’ll be super tough for anybody to fight.”
PHOTO CREDIT – UFC