For his Sept. 22 UFC light heavyweight title bout against Jon Jones, Vitor Belfort will be training with Rashad Evans, Alistair Overeem and company at the Blackzilians camp in Florida.
Glenn Robinson is a founder of the team and the president of Authentic Sports Management. Ahead of Belfort’s title shot, he joined the Sherdog Radio Network’s “Rewind” show to discuss the cancellation of UFC 151, Belfort’s willingness to fight Jones on short notice and more.
On Belfort’s reaction to hearing UFC 151 was being canceled: “I called him up to tell him what was going on with the UFC, that they were canceling the card, and his first reaction was, ‘I’ll fight.’ Without even thinking about it, without even a hesitation. He didn’t even care who he fought. His first reaction was, ‘I’ll fight.’ He’s a true warrior. He really is a true warrior. We talked about it, and he reached out to the UFC and he was chosen. He was the lucky one. Vitor’s always ready to fight.”
On Belfort moving back up to light heavyweight for the bout: “To him, 185, 205, it doesn’t make a difference. A fight’s a fight. I think he would have taken it if it was heavyweight.”
On Belfort’s mindset: “He’s happy. He’s very happy. He fights well when he’s fighting from a happy place. … This is going to be a tough fight for Jon. I think the oddsmakers who came out with a 13-1 [line] against Vitor, that’s crazy. That’s crazy. I mean they’re really underestimating him tremendously.”
On whether he can see why Jones didn’t take the fight against Chael Sonnen: “I’m not going to dispute their reasoning. I’m sure they had reasoning and logic. I have a lot of respect for Greg Jackson. He’s a great man. I have a lot of respect for Jon Jones. … I mean no disrespect to them whatsoever, but in my opinion, fighters fight. That’s what you do. You’re a fighter. You fight. Michael Bisping stepped up with eight days’ notice and he fought. That’s just what you do. I think this business is getting a little bit carried away with everyone trying to make sure that it’s the perfect opponent. At the end of the day, as a champion, you should be prepared to fight anybody who comes your way. But that’s people in my camp. I’m not speaking for Jon. I’m not speaking for Greg. I’m just speaking for our camp. My advice to the fighter would have been to fight.”
On fighters turning down bouts: “It’s hard to tell a fighter that you have to fight this person, but yeah, it’s happening to a big degree because everyone wants to make sure -- you know, there’s sponsorships involved and there’s a lot of dollars on the line. Once you’re the titleholder, when you lose that belt, it’s like getting back in line and waiting for the bus. You might be six people behind. You might be three people behind. You just don’t know. Everyone wants to protect the legacy they’re building, and I understand that. From a fighter’s perspective, they want to be careful, but I still come from the mindset that as a champion, you should be prepared to fight anybody that comes your way. You have to think of the ramifications of your actions. In my opinion, the fighters have to be more willing to take on anyone that comes their way.”
On what might not be known about the situation: “I think that there’s a lot more that goes into both sides of it that we don’t know about. We’re just all -- myself, the media, other fighters and everyone -- surmising a lot. I know Jon Jones is not afraid to fight anyone. I know he’s confident in his ability. Jon’s a great fighter. No one could dispute that. Jon is one of the best fighters in the world. I just think there are some circumstances we’re not privy to, and I’m just speaking to more of a general statement. My opinion is that as a fighter, you have to be prepared to fight at anytime.”
Listen to the full interview (beginning at 30:52).