When UFC veteran Alan Belcher ended his retirement for bare-knuckle preventing and boxing, he was adamant about solely going through the largest and greatest challenges.
For Belcher, coming again wasn’t concerning the cash. As a substitute, it was about undertaking nice feats and including to his legacy in ways in which maybe he didn’t whereas competing in MMA for practically a decade.
On Friday evening, Belcher battles for the BKFC heavyweight title in a matchup in opposition to reigning champion Arnold Adams. He has an opportunity to show his return to preventing was price it.
“This is able to be my first world championship,” Belcher instructed MMA Combating. “So I’m taking it very critically. That is a part of my life’s work. A part of my enterprise. A part of my legacy. Profitable to me simply implies that I’m progressing.
“Profitable this combat simply implies that all the pieces, all the teachings I’ve realized in my life and my profession and the final couple of years of getting again into the game and studying and rising, successful this combat simply implies that I’m very aware and conscious that I did issues proper and I didn’t get in my very own approach.”
Belcher has already amassed a few highlight-reel knockouts within the BKFC ring, however changing into the heavyweight champion could be the right cherry on prime to his bare-knuckle profession to date.
Belcher nonetheless has lofty ambitions in BKFC and in boxing. One identify particularly that pursuits him is former UFC champion Francis Ngannou, who’s at the moment a free agent after leaving the promotion following his final combat in 2021.
Whereas Belcher has no thought if Ngannou would ever entertain a bare-knuckle combat, BKFC President Dave Feldman has already pitched the idea with hopes to talk to “The Predator” about doubtlessly working collectively.
“I’m 100% taken with that,” Belcher mentioned when requested about Ngannou. “I wish to combat the very best on the earth, and Francis Ngannou checks that field. It’s the eye and the publicity and the cash that fighters need. I believe that is what the followers wish to see.
“In my final couple of years, I’ve got down to be a knockout artist. In my first combat [in BKFC], I went to a call. I used to be simply sort of feeling it out. However after that I actually went to work, and now that I’ve bought my toes moist, I’ve bought my confidence, and what I’ve been engaged on is de facto determining the science of the way to finish the combat with the arms actually shortly, and if it doesn’t occur in a short time, ensuring that I’m successful each, single spherical by persevering with to seek for the knockout. A number of coaches have even instructed me previously to not try to knock somebody out, and that’s my entire intention now. Once I come to combat you, I’m coming to knock you out.”
Ngannou has been referred to as probably the toughest puncher in MMA historical past, taking out legendary strikers like Alistair Overeem and Stipe Miocic, who holds the file because the longest-reigning heavyweight champion in UFC historical past.
Belcher is aware of Ngannou could be an extremely harmful opponent, particularly with out gloves on. However he refuses to again down if that problem was introduced to him.
“If I combat Francis Ngannou, I’m coming to knock you out,” Belcher mentioned. “I imagine it 100%. There may be nothing extra highly effective than perception. Perception is much more highly effective that fact, and that’s the place you get right into a situation with somebody like me looks like an underdog. I can’t imagine you’re preventing Francis Ngannou! Then earlier than it, he’s laying on the canvas.”
There’s no timeline when Ngannou may combat subsequent, a lot much less if he’ll select MMA, boxing or another fight sport. However Belcher is sending a message loud and clear that he’s greater than open to the thought..
“Arnold Adams is a automobile for me to create that, so I’ve to knock him out,” Belcher mentioned. “My objective is to knock him out in a spectacular kind of vogue that approach it makes extra sense for a combat like [Francis Ngannou] to occur. I’m up for no matter.
“Possibly BKFC desires to do a boxing match or one thing like that. I believe Francis Ngannou most likely doesn’t wish to leap proper into bare-knuckle boxing in opposition to the very best guys on the earth. There’s a bit to search out on the market.
“Simply since you’re a giant, nice athlete, UFC champion doesn’t imply you may come into bare-knuckle and knock everybody out. In fact, it provides you lots of benefits for certain, however I’m prepared for that. Proper after Arnold Adams, perhaps that may be the following combat. Let’s do it.”