You can usually count on two things from rough-and-tumble middleweight Alan Belcher: a sharp, well-rounded game, and a ton of respect for whoever stands on the other side of the Octagon from him. But things are different this time around – thanks to a war of words between him and UFC 159 opponent Michael Bisping, and the promise that a tattoo of the British flag will get inked on Belcher’s chest if he loses in the first round. It’s almost as if this kind, respectful Southern boy has been replaced by someone with an edge to him. It’s kind of cool.
Rebellion Media caught up with Belcher because, well, why not? He’s been a top-ten UFC fighter for ages now, and anytime anyone has mean things to say about Michael Bisping, it’s usually quote-worthy.
What are your thoughts on Michael Bisping?
“He’s different. As far as tough, everyone is different in terms of what they have to offer. I think that he is a tough guy – that’s one of his best things. He’s got a lot of heart. Skill-wise… I’ll try to be respectful when I say it, but he doesn’t have a lot of great skills. He is well-rounded, he out-works people, and he knows how to play the point game. That’s the hardest thing about Bisping. I haven’t fought an opponent like him.”
What are your thoughts on your upcoming fight with him?
“It’s a little bit personal, and I plan on finishing the fight as fast as I can.”
All this trash-talk… Is this special for Bisping? Or is this the new you?
“It’s special just for Bisping. I’m not a trash-talker at all. Even throughout this whole thing, I’ve tried to point out the things I respect about Bisping. But I think as a person he’s a jerk. He’s pulled some stunts inside and outside the Octagon that have made people not like him and not respect him. I think he needs to be beat, and I can’t be beat by someone like that. I’m going to beat him, and I’m going to try to hurt him.”
Okay, but a bet involving a tattoo? Tattoos are forever, man.
“Yeah, well, that’s how confident I am that I’m going to take him out… He said he would bet anything that he was going to take me out in the first round – which is not going to happen.”
You recently lost a decision to Yushin Okami, and then had to deal with an injury. What’s the story with that?
“I had a fracture in one of the bones in my back. It feels good now, though. All my injuries are okay, I’m feeling good, I’m back on track. I got a wake-up call in my last fight. No excuses, I just got beat. I just have to be a little bit sharper mentally. I’m definitely not going to get beat by Michael Bisping, and I guarantee it’s not going to be in the first round. I’ll go as far as to say I will get a tattoo on my chest if I do get beat.”
You’ve been competing since 1998 and you’ve been calling the Octagon home since 2006. How much longer does Alan Belcher have in the cage?
“I don’t know. I feel better than ever. I feel like I’m in my prime. I know I’m coming off a loss right now, but I made some mistake in that fight that I’m not going to make again. I’m not looking to see how long my career is, I’m just looking to be the best I can be.”
You’ve fought all over – any particular preference as to where you fight?
“I prefer Las Vegas. Of course, New Orleans is close to my home, and Memphis, Tennessee is close to where I grew up. Those are cool experiences to me. I’d like to do that again. But as far as all the fights I’ve been pretty regular at, I prefer Las Vegas. I’ve got friends and family there, I know the city, I know the gyms, I know the hotel. You just go from your room straight down to the weigh-ins, you go from your room straight down to the fight. Everything is all in one right there. I know where to get my groceries. I prefer Las Vegas. It’s easy. You don’t have to jump in a van and go to the venue.”
Hypothetical: Dana White comes up to you and says you can fight anyone in the UFC that you choose. Who would you pick?
“If I could fight anyone in the UFC that I choose… I mean I guess I would fight Anderson Silva, because that would be a shortcut to a title fight. I don’t see why not. I guess it would be a toss-up between Anderson Silva and Jon Jones. I couldn’t make weight to fight GSP, and I damn sure ain’t going to be fighting Cain Velasquez.”
You wouldn’t pick, say, two flyweights at once?
[Laughter.] “That’d be interesting. But nah. That’d be embarrassing. I’d get beat there. Those guys are too fast.”