Jon Jones Respects Vitor Belfort as a Legend, but is Working on a Legacy of His Own

September 22, 2012
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Jon Jones at UFC 136Following the cancellation of UFC 151, after a couple false re-starts, the reset finally came with UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones set to put his belt on the line against Vitor Belfort in the UFC 152 main event.

Jones had originally been slated to head UFC 151, challenged by Dan Henderson, who fell off the card due to injury.

Belfort had been busy working his way back up the UFC middleweight division, but when push came to shove and the UFC needed an opponent for Jones, Belfort stepped up and was granted a title shot.

A war can be waged over whether the former UFC light heavyweight champion deserves a shot at Jones or not, but what really can’t be argued is the fact that anyone on any given day, at this level of the sport, can win. And that simple fact hasn’t slipped past Jones.

“Vitor Belfort is a UFC original, a real, true legend,” said Jones at Wednesday’s UFC 152 open workouts in Toronto. “He has so much experience at so many different weight classes and I cannot underestimate him.”

Belfort, 35, is one of the most experienced fighters in the UFC. He began his professional MMA career at just 19 years of age, shredding through the opposition. With the fastest hands in the sport, he knocked out his first four opponents, mowing three of them down inside the opening minute of the fight.

The fight that etched in everyone’s mind, however, is when Belfort blitzed a young “Axe Murderer,” laying out Wanderlei Silva in front of a fervent crowd of countrymen at UFC Brazil in 1998.

When he’s on his game, Belfort still possesses the speed and power to knock out anyone that sets foot in the Octagon.

Jones knows that, but he doesn’t fear it.

“He’s a very powerful striker, but in this situation, I feel I am the more versatile striker in the fight,” said the champ. “I won’t shy away from a striking battle just because he has a punch. He’s got a unique style and I enjoy matching up against guys like that.”

Much like Belfort in his day, Jones has stormed the completion, rolling over the likes of Vladimir Matyushenko, Mauricio “Shogun” Rua, Lyoto Machida, and Rashad Evans.

Just as Belfort was known as “the Phenom,” so is Jones.

That can be a dominant champions ultimate downfall, buying into the hype that surrounds him. Belfort, when he was in his zone, rolled over anyone in his path, but given to distraction, his alter ego, the vulnerable Vitor, could appear.

Jones has yet to show that he has that alter ego, but he’s surely being put to the test now, falling under a heavy dose of criticism for everything from a recent DWI incident to turning down a short-notice fight that may have saved UFC 151 from cancellation.

He also faces the calls of those who say he has decimated his division; that he needs to move on to superfights against the likes of Anderson Silva or perhaps move up to new challenges in the heavyweight division. But Jones isn’t buying.

“In no way have I ‘cleared out’ the division,” remarked the champ. “Everyone’s style is a puzzle for me, and who knows which style I will have the most trouble with.”

At 25 years of age, there’s a lot of life left in Jones’ career, and he’s got a clear vision for it.

“I’m about to fight my fifth straight UFC champion – which I was told is a UFC record – and I’m very proud of fighting the best guy available in each of my fights,” Jones stated. “That’s how you build a legacy in a sport.”

Stay tuned to MMAWeekly.com for more UFC 152 news and event coverage.

  • somecokehead

    THIS JUST IN: ANDERSON SILVA JUST LAID A 4.5 POUND EGG!!!!
    GUESS DENNY GAVE UP?

    • rsnowbass

      Pretty sure his account was terminated.

      All his previous posts have been wiped out

      (grinds teeth, grinds teeth, sniffle sniffle, talking real fast….grinds teeth, sniffle, bottom jaw right left right…)

  • zacharydetal

    i thought for sure he was back, nice one. I don’t about anyone else but i’m looking forward to ufc 152, should be pretty good.

  • LoneWanderer

    …dammit just when you seem to be gone, what exactly are you hoping to accomplish with all of this?!?

  • http://www.combatsciencemma.com CombatScienceMMA

    What took you so long?! lol

  • MikeMc1983

    BREAKING NEWS!!!!! INJURY REPORT!!!!!

    Chris weidman has severely injured his back. It seems he was working out at a gym in brazil. Witness said that he noticed a strange garment laying on the floor of the locker room. It was said that he reached down and attempted to grab the garment he screamed out in pain. As he fell to the floor it seems he realized it was a jock strap with the initials A.S. labeled on them. Doctors said that he may be out of action for some time. The onlookers were stunned by the incident, but one was heard saying “it’s official, Chris can’t even hold Anderson’s jock.”

    • LoneWanderer

      +1,000,000 hahaha

    • MMAGod

      I love it when guys go story to story to post the exact same idiotic jokes that are no more funny than the first 100 times they posted it. What a tool.

      • MikeMc1983

        I can only assume you were talking about me posting the same lame jokes over and over again.
        Two things. First, I posted the comment in two separate articles. I’ll apologize for that. I posted it the first time in the wrong article. I don’t like the repeat posters either and have shared that before.
        Second, the comment was suppose to be a bit lame. It was kind of a response to the Denny post. Guess you couldn’t quite get that it was meant to be a bit lame, and a bit absurd.

        You commented on my repeat comment both times. Is that way you call yourself mmagod? Is it because you plan on hovering over every comment to see if it’s in line with your taste? Shouldn’t you keep your judgements until life’s end, mr. Mmagod?
        Sorry my comment is so long, but it’s not everyday you hear from the higher power……

  • MMAGod

    “Anderson silvas egg has cracked and silva is distraught.” Denny, you are clearly as stupid as your posts make you look. It wouldn’t hurt if you mastered 5th grade English before posting stupidity.

    • Booker T

      And you are no God my friend.

  • Lesnardo

    I respect Jon Jones. I do feel that he is becoming somewhat arrogant as of late, perhaps rightfully so.

    Jones needs to be more direct.

    “Vitor Belfort is a UFC original, a real, true legend,” said Jones at Wednesday’s UFC 152 open workouts in Toronto. “He has so much experience at so many different weight classes and I cannot underestimate him.”

    -Jones Meant to say, “Vitor is an old dog like Frank Mir and Tito Ortiz. Old dogs stand no chance against a young champ like me.”

    “He’s a very powerful striker, but in this situation, I feel I am the more versatile striker in the fight,” said the champ. “I won’t shy away from a striking battle just because he has a punch. He’s got a unique style and I enjoy matching up against guys like that.”

    -“Vitor does have decent stand up but I highly doubt he can stand and trade with me. My speed and reach will be too much for this midget.”

    “In no way have I ‘cleared out’ the division,” remarked the champ. “Everyone’s style is a puzzle for me, and who knows which style I will have the most trouble with.”

    -Jones meant to say, “Don’t expect to see me fight JDS, Cain, Overeem, or any of the HW big boys any time soon. I plan to follow Anderson Silva’s path and be the best at a weight class full of guys that are smaller than me. And no, I won’t challenge myself.”

    “I’m about to fight my fifth straight UFC champion – which I was told is a UFC record – and I’m very proud of fighting the best guy available in each of my fights,” Jones stated. “That’s how you build a legacy in a sport.”

    – He meant to say, “I am Jon Bones Jones biatch!”