THE long awaited face-off between two of combat sports most dangerous men went down ahead of MF & DAZN: X SERIES 003 on 19 November at the Moody Center in Austin, Texas, and both the prodigy and the former champion were fully zoned in on what it is going to take to edge this hugely exciting encounter.
Neither fighter could contain their excitement for this one, as both were salivating at the thought of testing themselves against a true combat sports athlete when the main event arrives on fight night. Both men have gained notoriety for their stunning stopping power throughout their careers in fighting professionally which guarantees to leave the fans salivating alongside them.
Vitor Belfort cut a composed figure during the face-offs, and rightly so as an athlete who has boxed against Evander Holyfield and shared an octagon with the likes of Randy Couture, Michael ‘The Count’ Bisping, Wanderlei Silva, Dan Henderson and Luke Rockhold to name but a few. The former UFC Light Heavyweight champion still was the first to outline the challenge that awaits him when he faces the heavy-handed Rahman Jr.
“This is legendary,” said Belfort. “For me, martial arts is something I’ve always grown up doing so I’ve never been able to do both. Now I’m fighting one of the best prodigies in boxing and I’m very excited for it.”
“It’s an amazing event,” responded Rahman Jr. “I’m excited to be a part of it and to especially test myself against a legend. This is a former UFC champion, a Brazilian Olympic alternate in boxing, a true martial artist and competitor; I’m ready to prove why he speaks so highly of me.”
The mutual respect between the two is a telling sign this is the calm before the storm. Understated reactions and responses on the surface highlight two men very confident in their preparations and know their dangerous actions speak louder than any trash talking-could.
Hasim Rahman Jr has been in the professional fighting game now for half a decade and produced a stunning run of 12-straight wins during the beginning of his rise in boxing. He equally shared the role of a relaxed fighter when looking into the eyes of his opponent as he accepted strengths of the former UFC king, but backed his own artillery to be the most potent.
“He’s been at the top of a bill before, the main event, he’s done it all. I’m here to take advantage of these opportunities and I’m happy to show people why I’m one of the most dangerous people in combats sports. Period,” said Rahman Jr.
“This is no different than any other fight, albeit against a guy that has performed at a higher level than most. With a much more dangerous fighter, comes much more preparation. To use his words against him, if all the preparation has been in order, then my training camp will mean there shouldn’t be a problem when I enter that ring.”
“I’ve taken the time and put in the work, and I’m ready to show I can neutralise his best weapons and put some of my own to use as well. Come November 19, you get to see the rebirth of Hasim Rahman Jr.”
You will seldom find a main event anywhere in crossover boxing that brings together two animals from their respective disciplines, and square off in the ring like this. Belfort has been at the pinnacle of the fighting world and produced some of the greatest knockouts you will see in any fighting arena.
Now the Brazilian looks to call on a lifetime of living ‘the way of the warrior’ to show his pedigree as an icon. Belfort has personified a true fighter throughout his whole career, and it is his natural relationship with fighting that will see him weather any storm on November 19 and see his hand raised.
“You don’t play fighting, and you don’t play combat sports,” said Belfort. “Every time I’m training, I’m doing it to be the best version of myself and I’m looking to turn my game on. It’s not the best fighter who wins, it’s the fighter who fights best.”
“I come to finish the fight. I have the samurai mentality and it’s life and death for me. It’s urgency every time. Whenever my opponent presents me the opportunity is when I take my chance and finish it. I fight in a flow state, and with power and speed in my hands, it’s just about going through the motions and dancing to the beat.”
“It tests you mentally, physically, and emotionally but you must learn how to prepare and flick the switch,” continued Belfort. “Everyone is two animals in life and that’s either the lamb or the lion; you must learn how to be the right one at the right time. One thing I can guarantee is when I step in that ring it’ll be a fierce and hungry competitor looking for the victory every time.”
Whatever animal a fighter chooses to be, Rahman Jr is choosing to be the one ready to become the number one predator in the crossover boxing pecking order. Belfort’s highlight reel makes him look like the most dangerous man on the planet, but Rahman Jr remains unmoved about what is seen on the screens and remains ready to make huge waves in Texas.
“One thing I’ve come to learn in my young career is that you never fight the guy you see on the tape. I saw his fight against Holyfield, but that’s irrelevant,” said Rahman Jr.
“I’m expecting to come up against a guy who is faster than anyone I’ve fought, stronger than anyone I’ve fought, and he’ll be ready to go the full-length of the fight. We already know what he is, what he does, what his strengths are, and there’s nothing hungrier than a wounded lion that’s still hungry like him.”
“He’s been at the top of this sport, but it’s time for a new king.”