Alan Belcher was proudly a jack-of-all-trades during his mixed martial arts career but he actually entertained a crossover bout in boxing just after he joined the UFC roster.
The now 38-year-old veteran was already a top MMA prospect when he signed with the UFC in 2006, but with an amateur background in boxing he received an intriguing offer to make his professional debut as part of a card being promoted in his home state of Mississippi.
At the time, Belcher thought it was a great opportunity to test himself in another sport. However, it didn’t take long for his request to be denied by the UFC.
“I started amateur boxing when I was 14,” Belcher told MMA Fighting. “I had a good bit of amateur boxing, I did Toughman [competitions], and I was never beaten in boxing. I was going to make my debut shortly after I got into the UFC in 2006, 22 years old.
“Roy Jones Jr. was making one of his comebacks at the Mississippi Gulf Coast Coliseum and he asked me — I was a new, young UFC fighter who had just got on TV — he asked me to co-headline his card there with him to bring in the local crowd. I would have made my debut there but the UFC shut that down. Dana White thought it was a stupid idea so there went my boxing career or anything else that I really wanted to do.”
While Belcher went on to spend the next seven years as part of the UFC roster, he was disappointed to miss out on a unique opportunity like that because the promotion wouldn’t allow him the freedom to pursue another interest.
After retiring in 2015, Belcher made his return to combat sports six years later after inking a deal to join the roster at the BKFC where he currently sports a perfect 2-0 record.
With his next fight booked against Frank Tate on June 11 in a potential No. 1 contender’s bout at heavyweight, Belcher couldn’t be much happier with the way his career is going. Looking ahead, he’s happy to work with a promoter who will allow him the opportunity to chase bare-knuckle titles and maybe get a boxing match in the future as well.
“That’s part of my main motivation now,” Belcher said. “Doing the things I want to do. Now I get to be a boxer. I’m quickly becoming the best bare-knuckle boxer in the world.
“When I was first talking to [BKFC President David] Feldman, talking about coming back, I was like maybe I’ll do this a little bit and get myself back into wrestling and maybe do some MMA. As I got more dialed in, especially after that first fight, it became apparent to me that if you want to be a world champion then you’ve got to focus on this. So Feldman is cool with me boxing and pro boxing because it’s making me a better bare-knuckle boxer because I’m leveling up there. I like having the freedom. I’m also disciplined and everything I’m doing is to be the heavyweight bare-knuckle boxing champion of the world.”
Following a decision win in his BKFC debut, Belcher scored an emphatic knockout in his second fight and he expects that’s the way things will continue on June 11 and beyond.
He’s getting more and more comfortable as a bare-knuckle fighter and that’s only going to spell bad news for his opponents.
While he definitely plans on pursuing a boxing match in 2023, Belcher will only put on the gloves again after he’s claimed the BKFC heavyweight title.
“I knew that I was going to get the knockout cause I could feel my skill level come up from the first fight,” Belcher said. “A month or two months after that, I could see myself continue to climb up and progress. I’m 37 years old at the time and I never felt this strong, this slick, this smooth, this accurate. I’m going to knock everybody out from now on.”