Had Michael Bisping defeated Vitor Belfort back in January, he'd currently be preparing himself for a showdown with middleweight champion Anderson Silva. Bisping, however, was knocked out by "The Phenom" and is instead readying himself to take on Alan Belcher in April.
Though both competitors are coming off losses, Belcher recognizes that their UFC 159 showdown will strongly impact the title picture at 185 pounds.
"This fight is just like, you know, the biggest fight of my life," Belcher admitted during a pre-fight interview with UFC.com. "We both have a lot on the line for this one, we're both getting close to a title shot, so a loss could be detrimental..."
There is certainly a great deal riding on the outcome of the match, and Belcher plans on making the most of the opportunity. He sees himself cashing in because of his perceived overall skill advantage as well as his power.
I think that my skill-set and all the different weapons I have, along with my power, is going to be the difference in the fight. I have no doubt in my mind that Bisping could not knock me out with his best punch if I let him. There's no way that I am going to get hurt in this fight and that I'm going to go down.
Though Bisping isn't exactly known for his punching power, he may object to the assumption that Belcher is the much harder hitter, given that he owns 14 knockouts over 28 career fights to Belcher's nine over 25 bouts.
Both fighters are renowned for their technical abilities more than impact striking, but it will be interesting to see whether Belcher tries to make it more of a brawl if he believes that his opponent doesn't have the power to hurt him whatsoever.
The UFC has made no proclamations about Belcher vs. Bisping, but "The Talent" insists that the winner deserves a date with the victor of Silva vs. Chris Weidman.
"Not only is it a grudge match, but it's a war for that top contender spot," he asserts. "If I can step on Michael Bisping on the way to a title, then it's just a better day for me."