MMAJUNKIEAlan "The Talent" Belcher (16-6 MMA, 7-4 UFC) is both lucky and unlucky to be a UFC middleweight on a win streak.
He's lucky, of course, because he's risen to the top of the promotion's 185-pound division. (Hard work helped, too.) But he's unlucky because there aren't many fighters who share his streak, and as a result, he has to wait a little longer than most to stay active.
Belcher recently expressed frustration with his predicament, but he told MMAjunkie.com Radio (www.mmajunkie.com/radio) that he has plans for moving his career forward.
"Right now we're pushing for Demian Maia because I think [the UFC] has plans for everyone else," Belcher today said on the radio show. "I think that's an interesting fight. That will help me solidify the No. 1 contender spot.
"I think the timing would be right for me to fight (Vitor) Belfort after that."
Maia (12-2 MMA, 6-2 UFC) hasn't fought since he fell short in a title loss to middleweight champion Anderson Silva in April.
Belfort, meanwhile, (19-8 MMA, 8-4 UFC) is earmarked by UFC president Dana White as the next contender for Silva, provided the champ can get past No. 1 contender Chael Sonnen at UFC 117 in August.
Fabiano Farah, Belfort's manager, recently told MMAjunkie.com that the former UFC light-heavyweight champion will be ready to vie for the title in November. That leaves time for Belcher to carve out a spot as the next contender.
"I'm just going to wait for the time to be right to keep winning the fights that I get right now," Belcher said. "Hopefully, they're big fights. I'm satisfied with what the UFC's given me right now."
Belcher, 26, is coming off a second-round submission victory over former middleweight contender Patrick Cote at UFC 113 earlier this month. It was his second consecutive victory after a TKO of Wilson Gouveia at UFC 107, and it was his fourth straight octagon appearance in which he won a performance bonus (two for "Submission of the Night" and two for "Fight of the Night"). The only loss in Belcher's past five fights is a closely contested split decision to Yoshihiro Akiyama at UFC 100.
The Jonesboro, Ark. native said his frustration with the UFC's matchmaking process is rooted in impatience. The best way to keep his upward trajectory is to keep winning fights.
"In the past, I was unsatisfied with the way the UFC was pushing me," Belcher said. "But it's just me having big expectations and wanting to get out there. At this point, I think I've proven myself, and I'm starting to get the respect that I deserve.
"In the (Sherdog.com) interview I did about [my frustration] ... I was basically saying the same thing – that Belfort was going to get the title shot because it was something to do with his contract or something that they had promised him. It wasn't like I disagreed with it; I just thought it was something that was already planned out.
"The UFC has to give me big fights now. I deserve them."
Belcher said he's spoken to a UFC official recently and expects to get a fight soon, though he doesn't have a concrete timetable for his return.
"It doesn't really matter to me as long as I get a few weeks to get mentally prepared for whoever I fight," he said. "I'm ready whenever."
i like his chances here . i think he can avoid maia TD via being frickin HW coming fight night .