Article

UFC 204 outcome pivotal for Belfort, Mousasi



MANCHESTER, England

Saturday night’s UFC 204 co-main event between Vitor Belfort and Gegard Mousasi comes at a pivotal moment for the two fighters – one is focused on the present while the other is looking ahead to the future.

For Mousasi, the former Strikeforce champion and No. 9-ranked middleweight, this is a fight that’s been a long time coming. He has wanted to fight “legend” Belfort since 2009, when they were on schedule to battle at a catchweight in Affliction.

RELATED: UFC 204 Countdown - Belfort vs Mousasi | UFC 204 Open Workout highlights | Predictions for UFC 204 | Pre-order UFC 204 digitally now

But this has nothing to do with the past for the Netherlands standout. Mousasi, 31, knows that to reach the promised land of a title fight, the road goes through Belfort.

“He’s a legend, he’s ranked No. 5 – it makes sense,” Mousasi said of his fight against Belfort at Manchester Arena. “Vitor’s No. 5, I’m No. 9 (in the UFC’s rankings). But with the oddsmakers, I’m favored to win. I don’t know how he can be No. 5 if I’m the favorite. I hope to be No. 5 and then we go after that.”

With Father Time catching up to Belfort, 39, “The Phenom” knows it’s all about the here-and-now.

“People have been expecting (me to retire) for my past seven fights. It’s amazing how the media has this expectation,” said Belfort, the former UFC light heavyweight champion. “I don’t have a plan — my plan is to be here right now, fight the good fight and fight the best guys. I don’t want to take any easy fights.

“I think most of us think about the past or the future. Through my career I’ve learned something that’s so special and helped to guide my life: Just live in the moment. I’m living this moment.”

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - OCT. 05: Vitor Belfort of Brazil holds an open training session for fans and media at the Manchester Arena. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC)
MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - OCT. 05: Gegard Mousasi of The Netherlands holds an open training session for fans and media at the Manchester Arena. (Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC)With the two fighters focused on different things, it makes their crossroads clash so intriguing. Both know that, in a crowded middleweight division, nothing less than a win is acceptable to reach whatever goal they have in place – be it big fights or a push towards the title. And with so many contenders set to square off in the coming weeks (former champion Chris Weidman vs Yoel Romero at UFC 205; former champ Luke Rockhold vs “Jacare” Souza a few weeks later in Australia), it may take more than a victory.

“I think (Vitor’s) not at his best but I think he’s adjusted from (past) losses,” Mousasi said. “The guys that he fought were wrestlers. With me, he knows I’m going to fight stand up.

“I hope to finish him in one or two rounds”

Belfort has his own view.

“I think Gegard wants to fight the best guys. That’s an honor for me, having a guy who wants to fight me – one of the best guys in the sport as well. I admire fighters that want to fight the best guys, I have a lot of respect for competitors like that.

“I think (Mousasi) is wrong. Very, very wrong. I’m looking for victory. My name is victory – I’m Vitor!”

Jorge Mondaca is the managing editor of UFC.com. Follow him on Twitter at @JorgeAMondaca

Media

Recente
UFC Minute host Lisa Foiles delivers an important update regarding the rules for next week's superfight between Conor McGregor and Floyd Mayweather.
16-ago-2017
History is up for grabs when flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson attempts to defend his belt against challenger Ray Borg at UFC 215. In the co-main event Amanda Nunes and Valentina Shevchenko battle for the women's bantamweight title.
16-ago-2017
In advance of the most anticipated event of the summer, Conor McGregor will host an International media conference call on Wednesday, August 16 at 2 p.m. PT/5 p.m. ET.
16-ago-2017
Week six of Dana White's Tuesday Night Contender Series was another big night of action-packed fights. Hear Dana White discuss his picks for the winners of UFC contracts.
15-ago-2017