MANILA, Philippines – Mixed martial arts (MMA) legend Vitor Belfort said he wants to bring back the time when fighters never back down from a fight.
In an apparent tirade against reigning UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones, Belfort said he was always available to fight even with very minimal preparation.
“I fought a guy, 265 [pounds] and another guy like 385 pounds. And my weight was 205... I became the youngest champion in UFC history. I don't know what Jon Jones was doing when I was champion. Maybe he was in school,” said Belfort in UFC.com.
Belfort was referring to his UFC heavyweight tournament victory in 1997, when he fought Tra Telligman and Scott Ferozzo in one day.
Jones is currently under fire for refusing to fight Chael Sonnen on eight days’ notice. His refusal led to the cancellation of UFC 151.
Jones will fight Belfort instead in UFC 152 on Saturday (Sunday in Manila).
Belfort also cited his light heavyweight title win against MMA legend Randy Couture in 2004, which took place when he was experiencing family problems.
“When I won the light heavyweight belt, two weeks before the fight, my sister got kidnapped… I did the fight and I won the title,” he said.
Belfort asserted that he is an old school fighter who never refused a fight and that he was doing his duty to the sport.
“I definitely felt the responsibility to save this event. I never seen a UFC event got cancelled in my life. I'm not a diva, I want to bring the legacy back,” Belfort said.