It’s been six long years since Alan Belcher made his Octagon debut at UFC 62 when he fought top ranked Japanese fighter Yushin Okami.
But on Dec. 29, Belcher’s UFC career comes full circle in a manner of sorts as he finally gets the chance to avenge that fight and loss when he again faces Okami at UFC 155.
Almost 100 UFC events have passed since Belcher debuted in the Octagon, and in that time he’s learned an awful lot and been through even more. Despite the fact that he has shared 15-minutes of fight time with Okami before, Belcher is approaching this fight like they’ve never even met before.
In the last six years Belcher has changed a lot, and in terms of growth, who was once a kid that faced Yushin Okami in 2006, he is now a man.
“I’ve got to scratch that one; we’re both different fighters. He’s still the same athlete and still a good grappler, but he’s improved in a lot of different ways. I was looking at his most recent fights to go by. I wouldn’t even have to train for him if I could just erase that and not know what he was going to do at all, I could go in there and he wouldn’t take me down at all, as easy as he did then,” said Belcher when speaking to MMAWeekly Radio.
“Now he couldn’t do the same thing to me again. That fight doesn’t matter, and I’m a lot better at wrestling and grappling than I was then.”
Belcher proved a lot of naysayers wrong about his grappling in his last fight in May when he took out leg lock specialist Rousimar Palhares.
Just about everybody believed that if Palhares got the fight to the ground, Belcher would be in a world of trouble. Well, the fight did land there and Palhares even got to attack Belcher’s leg with his infamous knee bar submission.
What some called a miracle, Alan Belcher calls good training because he worked through the submission, ended up on top and finished Palhares with a barrage of strikes in the first round.
Belcher plans on displaying that same level of confidence when he faces Okami at UFC 155.
If they are on the feet, he’s going to make Okami regret it, and if he does happen to get it to the ground, Belcher is more than confident that he can hold his own or work back to his feet. Wherever the fight goes, Yushin Okami is in trouble.
“Every second we’re on the feet, I’m going to be bringing the pain to him. I’m going to make him make him not want to be in there with me. I want it worse than him, I want this win worse than any fight ever,” Belcher said.
“If he can’t get me down, he’s going to be crapping his pants. Whenever I hit him, he’s going to realize when he looks in my eyes that I want it a lot more than he does, and he’s just going to be the best he can just fighting off his instincts, his heart’s not really going to be in it because he’s going to feel my heart and my ferocity. He will be scared.”
Belcher will look to notch his fifth win in a row when he faces Okami at UFC 155, while taking another step forward in the UFC middleweight division.