A lot of people may be critical of the way UFC light heavyweight title-holder Jon Jones handled last week’s news pertaining to Dan Henderson’s withdrawal from UFC 151 and the event’s subsequent axing. However, Jones’ next opponent – Vitor Belfort – isn’t among the group pointing fingers at “Bones” for backing down from the challenge of a last second scrap against Chael Sonnen.
In fact, Belfort has nothing but respect for the 25-year old champion.
“I’m the old lion, he’s the young lion, but I’m hungry. I’m just so pleasured to fight a guy like Jon Jones, being the greatest fighter of all time. He’s improving the sport,” said Belfort on this week’s episode of Inside MMA. “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.”
When it comes down to Jones’ decision to pass on the bout with Sonnen, “The Phenom” simply said he would have acted differently but also acknowledged doing so is a matter of personal choice and not some sort of unspoken code between Mixed Martial Artists.
“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.
“We are the type of fighters that adapted to fight. We’re ready to fight, tomorrow, in the gym,” he continued, addressing host Bas Rutten directly. “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,” he concluded. “That’s a fact.”
The showdown between Jones and Belfort is scheduled for September 22 at UFC 152 in Toronto. It will mark Belfort’s first fight at 205 pounds in nearly five years.
PHOTO CREDIT – UFC