After a prefight press conference to promote their UFC on FX bout Saturday night, the usually even-tempered Belfort placed his right fist on Bisping’s chin.
Shortly after Bisping shoved the hand away with his left forearm, Belfort gently touched his opponent’s chest.
That final gesture seemed to agitate Bisping, who pointed at Belfort and delivered a few choice words after the two were separated.
By that time, however, Belfort was fired up. “I’m ready,” Belfort screamed at Bisping.
“We went to do the square-up, and normally I like to get near my opponent, but he had his arm fully outreached,” Bisping said. “Then he started making contact with my chin.
“I went to move it away and he got all fired up. He lost his cool. I love it. It’s going to be fireworks on Saturday night.”
Granted, Bisping is no choirboy. He has directed his share of taunts at the opposition during prefight photo opts. But there seemed to be no hostility between him and Belfort, until Thursday.
Belfort claims he accepts that Bisping will get a title shot with a win Saturday night, while a victory won’t land him a rematch with champion Anderson Silva.
But Belfort has also stated that he remains determined to become champion again, and beating Bisping is the next step toward accomplishing that goal.
His antics Thursday prove that Belfort is beginning to feel a since of urgency as fight night nears. No more Mr. nice-guy for Belfort.
“Let’s stop talking and do this for real,” said Belfort, a Brazil native. “I’m ready for Saturday night. I’m excited for the crowd that will be there with me.
“The victory is my target and he’s going not going to stand in my way.”