(Belcher, seen here prior to getting that giant picture of Carl Perkins tattooed on his left arm. Pic: TigerMuayThai.com)
If Alan Belcher manages to return from the detached retina that nearly ended his career last year and can recapture anything close to the 4-1 form he showed during his five most recent fights in the Octagon, it’ll be one of 2011’s true feel good stories. Belcher has always struck us as one of the sport’s more likable characters, so when he tells Sherdog this week that he’s interested in returning to the UFC as soon as September, that’s great news. Only thing is, we wish Belcher would show just a touch more originality in deciding who he wants to fight in his comeback bout. Pretty much the usual suspects here:
“(Michael) Bisping is an asshole who disrespects the sport and his opponent,” Belcher tells the Dog. “A fight between me and Michael Bisping is something everybody wants except for Michael Bisping. It would be amazing to sign that fight and have him come to my backyard. He always gets to fight in Britain and other places, but it’d be good to see him come down to Louisiana. I’d love for that to be my comeback fight.”
Yep. Bisping. The ol’ standby. And in case you’re wondering, Belcher wouldn’t turn down a fight with Wanderlei Silva, either, though he sounds a little more reasonable about Silva’s standing in the division than some of the other dudes who’ve called out “The Axe Murderer” recently …
“I want to fight the top three or four guys,” he says. “I want someone who will help keep my status high and help me move towards a title shot. I don’t want to have to prove myself again. (Belfort) is a legend and is still close to the top. I’m not sure beating (Silva) gets me closer to the title, but he’s a fighter I like. (Maia) and (Bisping) are other possibilities, too.”
That minor gripe aside, we can’t help but feel a little excited that Belcher appears on the verge of a return. Regardless of what you thought of him before, nobody likes to see a guy felled by injury in the prime of his career. To hear him tell it, it sounds like he’s not quite 100 percent, but improving steadily toward a comeback.
“Right now, I’m planning to come back in September,” he says. “Everything is looking good so far, and I’m glad to be back in training. The time off was good for me. I got to see things from a different point of view. It made me realize just how lucky I was to be a fighter. It’s truly a gift that I’ve been given, but now I’m ready to be back as good or better than I’ve ever been.”