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 fight is a long time coming. He has wanted to fight Belfort since 2009, when they were on schedule to battle at a catchweight in Affliction.
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.”
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