Now that UFC On Fox 3 is in the books, and Alan Belcher has his fourth win in a row, against feared foot lock specialist, Rousimar Palhares, it's time to look forward. The once shallow middleweight division has flourished over the last couple years, and The Talent wants his shot at UFC gold. In a recent TapouT Radio interview, Alan discussed his win, and what he hopes the future will hold for him.
*Note: Interviewer is either my co-host, Evan Shoman of TapouT Radio, or myself. When I don't conduct these interviews by myself, I just put "Interviewer" to eliminate having to bounce back and forth between three different names.
Interviewer: Typically, when Rousimar Palhares grabs a limb, it's almost guaranteed that a submission will follow, but you not only escaped, you were challenging with your own submission attempts and ended up pounding him out. Do you feel that this was the defining moment in your career?
Alan Belcher: Yeah, I'd say so. I knew that I would shock some people. It wasn't my intention to get into a grappling match with him. A lot of people thought that was my intent going in, and that the media sort of pushed me into it, trying to prove something, but that was surely not the case at all.
I knew I would be able to handle myself if he got me in a situation. I was prepared, and I'd been training with some of the best guys that do that kind of thing. I was probably kind of psyching myself up a little too much, and I was expecting some kind of super powers or super strength, but it was a lot easier once I actually got in there.
I knew that it was going to take some real tight mental preparation to beat somebody like this. I recognized that it was my time, not only in my career, in the title picture, but it was my time in the fight to finish him and make a big splash, and I think that's what I did.
I think people will think twice about taking me down. Now they know I can grapple with the best of them. It was pretty nice watching him try to squirm out of the twister position, and out of all those submissions I was trying to throw on him. It was the highlight of the fight for me. I was pretty proud of it.
Interviewer: Has any of the UFC brass let you know where you're sitting in the line of title contention?
Alan Belcher: There's these four or five guys right now, that all have to fight, and they're all high level guys. Really, I think that I'm the only one that's kind of in a different class, and the one that's stopping my opponents. I feel like I might have a just a little bit of an edge on those guys, but, I think they still want to see how those play out.
I did talk a little bit with Joe Silva and Dana White, and we should be talking more this week, and talking with the managers to try to get a little more of a clear picture of where I stand. I know they were very impressed, and I think they look at me a little differently now. They knew that I was getting closer and closer, and I think now, they can kind of see me not only being able to stand with Anderson Silva with confidence, and how I'm not scared of anybody, but maybe even taking him down and submitting him.
Interviewer: Dana White said that you were a Top 5 guy now. Do you feel like this is your time to actively campaign for the next title shot?
Alan Belcher: I don't know. I'm ready. Although I'm being patient, and I can see that patience is paying off for me. I'm fighting these fights, and I just keep getting better. Of course I'm hoping for a title shot, and if they even gave a hint of that happening, I'd jump all over it. Would I be surprised if they wanted me to fight someone else? No, probably not.
I haven't gotten real lucky in my career like that yet.Maybe it's time for that luck to happen. Maybe they'll say. 'Hey, you're next', and that will be cool with me. If I have to fight someone else, well, let's do that, too. If I have to fight two more people, that's fine. I'm in this thing for the long haul.
Interviewer: Would you like to fight the winner of Bisping vs. Boetsch or Munoz vs. Weidman, if you have to fight one or two more before a title shot?
I think a fight with Michael Bisping makes a lot of sense. I mean, Boetsch looks like a beast at 185, and I've got to admit, he looks pretty scary. The other guys in the division, in my mind, I've already beat them so many times, and I know everything about them, and I know they don't have anything really threatening. Boetsch has got some pretty powerful tools, and is a pretty scary dude.
Bisping, of course, is getting to be a professional point fighter, and he's kind of hard to beat like that. That fight would be a nice payday, and a big fight for the media, so I'm kind of leaning towards that one. It would make sense, and the fans would love it. I can almost feel the energy I would get from the fans if I put him to sleep.
Interviewer: Is there a personal feeling in wanting to beat Bisping, or is it just a desire to get closer to the title?
Alan Belcher: No, nothing personal. I don't know what to think about him. I can already kind of feel the kind of smack talking that he would be doing, and I think that he just honestly believes that he's better than he is. I don't think he respects me or considers me to be one of the top guys. It would feel good to beat him, but I don't want to let those type of personal emotions get in the way of what's really important, and that's competing for the world championship and winning.
Interviewer: What's you general feeling at this point?
Alan Belcher: I'm sitting pretty nice right now. I'm excited and anxious to see what happens. Like I said, I haven't had a lot of luck before, and now it just seems like all the cards are falling in the right place. I'm in the right place mentally and physically, and everything has just lined up for me.
Being in the UFC and getting to do this has been amazing, but at some points in your career, you feel like even being in the Top 10, you're still so far away. It's hard to win three or four fights in a row, and now that I've finally done it, you can't take those away from me. I'm on a streak, and somebody is going to have to stop me. If I take one more fight, that guy's going to have to stop me, and once I beat him, the next guy is going to have to stop me. If I'm not there with a title shot by then, something is wrong.
As we were closing out the interview, we gave Alan a chance to thank any of his sponsors, fans, family, etc. I'm including this because I sort of feel like it was overlooked leading into the fight. Belcher is the only other fighter besides Jon Jones that is currently sponsored by the UFC. This is what he had to say:
Alan Belcher: I have one sponsor that I want to recognize, that I'm pretty proud of. I'm the second person in history to be sponsored by the UFC. I didn't know what to expect coming into this whole deal, but they have really stepped up. Their whole team has helped me out with designing me clothes, and they've put a lot of effort into everything, and really taken care of me. I just want to say thanks, and I appreciate it, because they're the best sponsor that I've ever had.
Follow Alan via his Twitter, @AlanBelcherUFC