Alain Ngalani Responds To Critics Of His Fight With Vitor Belfort
Alain Ngalani is set to welcome MMA legend Vitor Belfort to ONE Championship. While ‘The Panther’ thinks this fight is a great opportunity for him to test his skills against the decorated fighter, others see it as a one-sided affair, specifically designed to hype up ‘The Phenom’ in his promotional debut.
Before MMA, Ngalani was a highly decorated Muay Thai fighter and kickboxer with several titles to his name. He made the transition to mixed martial arts in 2013 and has seen mixed results since then. His career record stands at 4-5, with 1 no-contest.
Belfort’s ONE debut will see Belfort fight at heavyweight, despite the fact that the last time he competed, it was at middleweight.
Speaking to MMA Fighting, Ngalani said that despite the delays caused by the global coronavirus pandemic, he will still to welcome Belfort to the promotion.
“One thing is for sure, it will happen,” Ngalani said. “So it’s kind of a done deal.”
Fighting A Legend
It’s not only the fans who are excited for this fight, but the man fighting him as well.
“I got fans reaching out to me for all over the world and being so excited about this fight,” Ngalani said. “I’m very excited, personally. Vitor Belfort is a legend and fighting him… What could be bigger than fighting a legend? I’m very excited. I needed something to bring the fire back in me. I needed something to give that motivation, that fire that I was lacking, and fighting a legend is the best thing that could have happened. I’m very excited and I got the fire back in me, and I cannot wait to get back in there and mix it up with a legend.”
Speed And Strength
The Brazilian has previously said that he has the advantage when it comes to speed and strength. Upon hearing what his opponent had to say, Ngalani wasn’t lacking in confidence either.
“That’s awesome. I believe my speed and strength are also my advantage. I’m a natural light heavyweight at heavyweight, I’ve been that my whole life. If I’m in the right state of mind and healthy, nothing can stop me. I’m sure of that. Nothing can stop me.”
There has been speculation that Belfort is back on testosterone replacement therapy (TRT), which was banned in 2014 in the United States, due to his different appearance of late. Ngalani would rather not discuss this topic however. And while he would like for things to be “fair to both athletes, to be healthy and natural,” it isn’t really his top priority at the moment.
“I personally do not want to jump into that polemic,” the 45-year-old said. “I’m athletic, I’m a very natural athlete, I’m very healthy and never been under the influence of any sort of drugs or performance enhancer. I’m happy to be tested anytime by any organisation, I do not mind at all. I love this sport, I love what I do, I love training, I love competing, I love my health foremost. I will not jeopardise my health taking whatever is out there just to train and whatever. I will not do that.
“I’m physically very fit the way I am, I’m very natural, and I’m happy with that. If anyone is doing the opposite or is taking [illegal] substances, that’s their responsibility and that’s on them. I will not judge anyone, I’ll just say that I respect Vitor. He’s a legend. I don’t want to comment on that, don’t feel comfortable starting a controversy.
“I wouldn’t mind both of us being tested, although, tested or not, I’m gonna win this fight regardless,” he added. “I wouldn’t mind that we are tested just to make sure it’s all legal and it’s all fair, but no excuses whatsoever. Tested or not, whatever that is, I will win this fight.”
“They’ll Always Find An Excuse”
In just over two years, Ngalani has only fought twice. He took a split decision win over Ariunbold Tur-Ochir in March 2018 and then lost by TKO to Mauro Cerilli at ONE: Reign Of Valor in March of the following year. He then took some time off to recover from a neck injury, as well as have hand and knee surgery.
“All this put me down morally and physically,” Ngalani said.
But now that he’s physically healed up, he hopes to write a different narrative in his fight with Belfort. Still, there are doubts surrounding his skills and abilities, given that he only has four wins in MMA competition. Some see Ngalani as a sacrifice for the big name signed by the Singapore-based company.
But ‘The Panther’ pays no mind to his MMA record or what the people say about it.
“They are judging me, they are seeing my record and jumping on that to judge me,” Ngalani said. “That’s fine. I can take that. That’s my record. No problem, I’m not ashamed of it. I will not be the first athlete to be criticised for their record. When Floyd Mayweather wins, they criticise him. When Jon Jones wins, they criticise him. You win or you lose and they criticise you. Jon Jones wins and they criticise him every time. I’m just ‘The Panther,’ Alan Ngalani, and I’m doing my thing. I love what I do, I’m an athlete and I can be a danger to anyone.
“I’m here to prove the fans wrong, but, again, I’m going there to do my thing and prove myself a lot things. It’s not just about the fans. At the end of the day, nobody cares. The fans don’t care, you know? At the of the day is me and myself alone, that’s all. Of course you could say you will do something for the fans, yeah, that’s right, but I’m doing for myself first. I’m gonna go in there and give the best that I have and be proud of myself. This is my legacy. I’ll focus on myself.
“It’s ok for the fans to say that, it’s ok if you look at my record and say it’s a gimme fight, they can say whatever they wanna say. They’re always gonna find an excuse. If Vitor beat me, that was a gimme fight. If I beat Vitor, ‘Oh, it’s because he’s already old,’ although I’m older than him (laughs). Whatever. They’ll always find an excuse. It doesn’t matter. What I know is that people will watch the fight. People want to see the fight, regardless of what they are saying. The fans are talking but they want to see the fight. They gonna see the fight and I’m gonna give them for the money. Yes, I will give them for the money.”
How will Alain Ngalani fare against Vitor Belfort when the two meet inside the ONE Circle?