Only a few weeks out from his scheduled contest against Michael Bisping, Alan "The Talent" Belcher has seeming spent just as much time discussing his opponent as he has in the gym.
The war of words continued with Belcher's blog post on Yahoo! Sports when he let the Englishman know he's not worried about Bisping's headgames:
Like he always does, Bisping started with the name-calling games right away. He is very smart like that. He does the psychological aspect of the game so well. He tries to control the media and story of the fight during the buildup by coming out with his funny jokes and having the first and last word all the time.
Then he tries to embarrass opponents and get in their head at the press conference, with more jokes and pushing his head into opponent's faces, getting them all pissed off and unfocused in the final 24 hours of weight-cutting. Then he snarls and screams in the Octagon, starts fast and tries to steal rounds off you.
That isn’t happening in this fight. He’s a bully with his smack-talking and I’ve never had a problem standing up to bullies.
Belcher explains in the post that Bisping is a name he's always seen on the horizon as a future opponent. Bisping has been hovering in the top of the middleweight rankings for years now, but Belcher never seemed to mount enough momentum to reach the upper tier of the division.
A near career-threatening injury didn't help his cause either.
Yet, now he finally has a chance to face Bisping and Belcher has found it easy to stay motivated during his training camp:
What bothered me was Bisping immediately jumped on Twitter and started kicking me when I was down, saying now that I’d lost, he never had to hear about me again. Then he got his ass knocked out, so he DOES have to hear about me again. We are now back to being face-to-face. We both need to win big to get back in the mix and, unlike last year when he chose to fight Brian Stann in an easier fight, he has to fight me. He has no more excuses or anywhere to hide.
Belcher looked to up the ante for their contest by making a tattoo bet with Bisping, but it doesn't seem like the brash Englishman wants any part of that:
I called his bluff and said I’d get a tattoo of the British flag on my arm if he KO’d me in Round 1, and when I KO him he gets a Johnny Cash tattoo. He backed down right away, and he’s going to keep backing down because I’ve done my homework on this guy and know all his little tricks.
Even though both men are coming off one-sided losses, Belcher still views it as fight to earn a No. 1 contender's spot:
In my mind, this is a fight to get a No. 1 contender fight. Bisping didn’t lose to Vitor Belfort in January. When someone cheats with substances, like Belfort has done, it doesn’t count as a win. Belfort hasn’t proved he can win a big fight without taking steroids or TRT, so I think when I KO Bisping I should get all the recognition for being the first guy to do so since Dan Henderson did at UFC 100.
I know Belcher said he isn't getting involved in Bisping's mind games, but with all this talk it certainly seems like Bisping has gotten inside his head. And honestly, with how good of a trash-talker Bisping is, how can someone not be affected by it?
Belcher has won by KO seven times in his career but also owns nine submission victories and is widely considered one of the most well-rounded fighters in the division. Bisping meanwhile has never been tapped out, has only been knocked out twice and is one of the most durbale fighters in the game today.
Despite all the talk about both guys wanting to knock each other out, I expect this to go to a judges' scorecard in what could be a Fight of the Night award winner.