Morning Report: Vitor Belfort confident Anderson Silva would 'win on the feet' against Jon Jones

Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Along with Stephan Bonnar, Vitor Belfort is one of just two men to have fought both Anderson Silva and Jon Jones, and he's the only one to have fought both champions at their peak. So Belfort finds himself in an unique position when it comes to the current superfight conversation.

Having tasted both man's best shot, Belfort agrees with fans who believe Georges St-Pierre should be an afterthought and the only logical superfight out there is the one between the 185-pound and 205-pound titleholders. But, perhaps most surprisingly, "The Phenom" scoffs at the idea of Jones being the favorite.

"Anderson vs. GSP is meaningless. It would make sense if Anderson fought Jon Jones," Belfort explained to Por Dentro da Arena (via Fighters Only). "Anderson is a fighter at another level. I'm not underestimating Jones, but praising Anderson. He's one of the best that has existed. I always thought it.

"Anderson is in a very high level and should defend his belt or fight for the light heavyweight title. I think he has a greater possibility to beat Jones. He would win on the feet."

Of course Belfort gave Jones a scare with a valiant first-round armbar attempt at UFC 152, more than a year after being embarrassed by Silva and losing via the knockout of the decade. He also unquestionably stands to gain the most from Silva leaving the middleweight division, so it's not as if he isn't a little biased. But still, Belfort may have a point. After everything we've seen, whether it be the otherworldly movement, the ease with which he crosses divisional lines, or the vast trail of dismantled bodies left in his wake, it feels a bit unnatural to think of "The Spider" as an underdog to any human being on the planet.

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6 MUST-READ STORIES

Belfort: Silva would tool Jones on feet. Having fought both men, middleweight contender Vitor Belfort firmly believes Anderson Silva would "win on the feet" should he ever fight UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones, according to Fighters Only.

March bookings. A pair of heavily anticipated fights -- Georges St-Pierre vs. Nick Diaz and Rory MacDonald vs. Carlos Condit -- are being targeted for a March 16 UFC pay-per-view to be held in Montreal, Canada.

FOX 5 salaries, medical suspensions. Former UFC champion B.J. Penn was the most notable figure among the reported salaries and medical suspensions at UFC on FOX 5, pocketing $150,000 and receiving an indefinite medical suspension for his lopsided loss to Rory MacDonald.

Lawal gets debut opponent. Former Strikeforce champ Muhammed "King Mo" Lawal will make his Bellator debut against Polish veteran Przemyslaw Mysiala in the opening round of season eight's light heavyweight tournament. Lawal's debut is scheduled for Jan. 24 at the Global Event Center in Thackerville, Oklahoma, and serves as the co-main event of a show headlined by Ben Askren's welterweight title defense against Karl Amoussou.

Jones foreshadows heavyweight move. When Jon Jones makes his inevitable climb up to heavyweight, he plans to abandon his 205-pound title and focus solely on the new division. Additionally, he's eyeing a target weight of 240 pounds, stating, "I really won't want to get much bigger than that. I think speed and agility would give me an advantage being smaller than those guys."

Sanchez vs. Gomi. UFC veteran Diego Sanchez is booked to fight former PRIDE champion Takanori Gomi at UFC on Fuel 8 in Japan, according to a tweet Sanchez posted late Wednesday night.

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MEDIA STEW

Esther Lin returns with the lastest edition of her fantastic "Focus" series.

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Ever see MXC? Apparently a young Megumi Fujii made an appearance on a similar Japanese game show, Ninja Warrior.

(HT: CagePotato)

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Look, I'll be honest with you. I haven't watched more than a few episodes of TUF Smashes, and I'm sure I'm not alone. So, considering the winners are about to be determined a few days from now, it'd probably be best for both of us to catch up with this playlist featuring the 12 episodes available online.

(HT: Bloody Elbow)

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Sometimes I have nothing to say and I'm just glad someone had the foresight to post a video online. This is one of those times.

(HT: MiddleEasy)

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Man, the injury bug's voice is just as unlikeable as I expected.

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PARTING WORDS

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THE ONLY WAY TO CELEBRATE

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ONE MORE BOOKING

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I SEE WHAT YOU DID THERE

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PAYING HOMAGE

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DON'T DOUBT HIM

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FIGHT ANNOUNCEMENTS

Announced yesterday (Wednesday, December 12, 2012):

  • UFC: Georges St-Pierre (23-2) vs. Nick Diaz (28-6, 1 NC) targeted for March 16 in Montreal
  • UFC: Rory MacDonald (14-1) vs. Carlos Condit (28-6) targeted for March 16 in Montreal
  • UFC on FUEL 7: Dennis Siver (21-8) vs. Cub Swanson (18-5) booked for co-main event
  • UFC on FUEL 8: Diego Sanchez (23-5) vs. Takanori Gomi (34-8)
  • Bellator 86: Muhammed "King Mo" Lawal (8-1) vs. Przemyslaw Mysiala (16-7)

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FANPOST OF THE DAY

Today's Fanpost of the Day comes from our old friend Steve Borchardt, who writes: B.J. Penn cements his legacy against Rory MacDonald

In the end, was it really worth it?

Leading up to last Saturday's UFC on FOX 5 all B.J. Penn could talk about was how he wanted to rewrite his legacy. The former two-divisional UFC champion was angry his name didn't come up in discussions about the greatest fighters of all time anymore and he wanted to prove this omission was a grave mistake. He was motivated, in shape, and chomping at the bit to get back in the Octagon and scrap. For Penn, his comeback represented a last chance to prove to the world - and perhaps more importantly to himself - that he was still relevant and not just a legend whose day in the sun had irrevocably faded to twilight.

Then Rory MacDonald beat the hell out of him.

It wasn't so much an athletic contest as it was a slaughter, with the once mighty Penn playing the part of sacrificial lamb. Although Penn showed flashes of what made him great in the first round - most notably when he did his trademark pogo-stick jump on one leg as MacDonald unsuccessfully attempted to take him down - the outcome was never in any doubt. MacDonald bullied the Prodigy around worse than a middle schooler trying to extract lunch money from a hapless third grader. At one point in the second round an unresponsive Penn covered up and appeared to be out on his feet as MacDonald unloaded with a series of brutal strikes in rapid fire succession. Referee Herb Dean was seconds away from stepping in and putting a merciful end to the punishment, but somehow Penn managed to gut through and hang on till the end of the round.

Not that it mattered though. In the closing frame of the fight the battered Penn was reduced to little more than a barely mobile target for MacDonald to style on with impunity. MacDonlad was so dominant that on two separate occasions the usually reserved Tristar product broke into the Ali shuffle, drawing forth a hailstorm of boos from a partisan audience who wanted to see the former Prodigy return to his bygone glory days. The uncharacteristic showboating served as the exclamation point on a performance that heralded Rory MacDonald's arrival as a legitimate top star. It was also a bit of a slap in the face to Penn, highlighting just how ineffectual the former icon had become.

After a showing like that it wasn't surprising when UFC president Dana White called for Penn's retirement during an interview with Ariel Helwani on the Fuel TV post-game show. It's tough to watch a legend of the sport get knocked around like a human heavy bag.

This is where It's tempting to roll out the cliche narrative of the aging warrior "going out on his shield" in a noble last stand against the vanguard of the new breed, but I don't think that's applicable in this case. While Penn undoubtedly showed the heart that made him a legend by refusing to quit while being brutalized by the younger MacDonald, the real story in the fight was that of a 168 pound man being dominated by a ridiculously larger opponent who likely outweighed him by 20 to 30 pounds on fight night. What else would you logically expect given the size differential between the two?

More after the jump.

Found something you'd like to see in the Morning Report? Just hit me on Twitter @shaunalshatti and we'll include it in tomorrow's column.

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