Vitor Belfort is old school.
The former UFC heavyweight tournament champion and light-heavyweight champion has been around, it seems, since the beginning. When street brawlers and one discipline specialists patrolled the UFC cages, a teenage Belfort was honing his boxing and jui-jitsu skills in his hometown of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
He came to the states in 1996 at the age of 19 and fought in his first UFC event less than a year later when he defeated both Tra Telligman and Scott Ferrozzo on the same night to earn the UFC 12 heavyweight tournament championship.
There was no training camp, no tape watching sessions to prepare for tendencies, no inside information, just an opponent standing across from him in a cage; and then later that night another one.
Belfort dismantled both men in a combined 2 minutes.
So when he got a call from UFC owner Lorenzo Fertitta, and it was explained to him that UFC 151 had been cancelled, he stepped up.
"When I heard the show was going to get canceled, I offered myself," Belfort told The MMA Hour. "I come from the old school, if you need me to save the show to fight Jones, if somebody got hurt, if you need me, just let me know."
By that time, however, the decision had been made, and the thought was that Jones wouldn't accept any opponent as a replacement on just 8-days notice.
It's a stance that has been immensely unpopular among other high-profile MMA fighters, including Frankie Edgar, Michael Bisping, and Chael Sonnen, who have called out the champ for what might be termed a "lack of fighting spirit."
Don't count Belfort among those levying heavy criticisms in the champs direction however. As "old school" as he is, Belfort slyly refused to take a position on Jones' decision, instead pointing out that he's happy Jones made the decision he did, and that he wouldn't have had this opportunity otherwise.
"I know Jon Jones and his camp has his [reasons]," Belfort said. "They know what is best from them. I'm not going to take any position on that. He's a grown-up boy, he has his crew, his manager, they made their choice. That's the choice that's best for them. If he didn't make that choice, I wouldn't have the chance, so I'm very happy he didn't take the [Sonnen] fight.
After Dan Henderson was forced from his scheduled championship fight with Jones. The UFC scrambled to find a replacement. Sonnen, a highly regarded middleweight contender, was among those initially contacted and he quickly jumped at the chance to face Jones for the light-heavyweight strap.
He was reportedly the only fighter among those contacted initially to accept the fight, but that doesn't mean he deserved it according to Belfort.
"I think [Chael Sonnen] didn't deserve [a shot at Jones because of] the loss [to Anderson Silva], the way he lost. I think someone deserves it, but [Sonnen] doesn't have a history in that weight division in the UFC. I have history in that division, I have history at the heavyweight division, I have history at the middleweight division, I think it's fair they way it end up. I think the fans are getting something that's fair."