Image via Esther Lin of MMA Fighting
Vitor Belfort is the man that ended up with a light heavyweight title shot after the chaos surrounding the cancellation of UFC 151 finally got cleared up. He was a guest on The MMA Hour With Ariel Helwani earlier today and he discussed how he got the bout with Jon Jones, broke the fight down, and stated why Chael Sonnen never deserved a bout with Jones in the first place. First, he said that he offered to take the fight:
"When I heard the show was going to get canceled, I offered myself," Belfort told MMAFighting.com's Ariel Helwani on Monday's edition of The MMA Hour. "I said ‘Lorenzo, you know me, I come from the old school, if you need me to save the show to fight Jones ... if somebody got hurt, if you need me, just let me know.'"
He thinks the fight will come down to experience vs. youth:
"I have a lot of respect for Jon Jones," said Belfort. "I'm very grateful for opportunity. Stepping into this fight, its old lion vs. young lion, so it's pretty cool."
After expanding on his lion analogy and describing what got him here (and confirming he'll be training with the Blackzillians for the bout), he moved onto the topic of Brazil's favorite fighter, Chael Sonnen. Jones famously turned down a bout with Sonnen that forced the cancellation of UFC 151, but Belfort doesn't offer up an opinion on that. He only says that Chael never deserved the fight in the first place:
"I know Jon Jones and his camp has his [reasons], they know what is best from them, I'm not going to take any position on that," Belfort said. "He's a grown-up boy, he has his crew, his manager, they made their choice, that's the choice that's best for them. If he didn't make that choice, I wouldn't have the chance, so I'm very happy he didn't take the [Sonnen] fight. I think [Chael Sonnen] didn't deserve [a shot at Jones because of] the loss [to Anderson Silva], the way he lost. I think someone deserves it, but [Sonnen] doesn't have a history in that weight division in the UFC. I have history in that division, I have history at the heavyweight division, I have history at the middleweight division, I think it's fair, they way it end up. I think the fans are getting something that's fair. I think, basically, what I think is right, what I think is wrong, I can only speak for myself."
It's pretty crazy that Jones was only 9 years old when Belfort won the heavyweight tournament at UFC 12 back in 1997. The oddsmakers might have Belfort as a massive underdog, but he sounds ready to face off with a new version of the phenom.