Alan Belcher's run at middleweight title starts with statement fight against Yushin Okami at UFC 155

Joe Camporeale-US PRESSWIRE

Alan Belcher is hoping to fight for the middleweight title by the end of 2013 and he knows that all starts by closing out 2012 with a bang against Yushin Okami at UFC 155 on Dec. 29 in Las Vegas, Nevada.

It doesn't seem like it was that long ago that Alan Belcher was taking a cue from Chael Sonnen and using whatever microphone was put in front of him to call for a middleweight title shot against reigning division champion Anderson Silva. At first, the proposition seemed crazy. After all, when he first started talking about it, he was barely a .500 fighter in the UFC.

Now, it's not so crazy.

That's because he's ripped off four wins in a row, a mark that would be at seven if not for an extremely controversial decision loss to Yoshihiro Akiyama back at UFC 100 in July 2009.

That's in the past, though, and he's rebounded strong, even overcoming a detached retina that not only threatened his career but his eyesight, as well. Despite that, he's chugging along with four finishes in a row. Up next is a main card match-up at UFC 155: "Dos Santos vs. Velasquez 2" on Sat., Dec. 29, 2012, in Las Vegas, Nevada, against Yushin Okami.

As Belcher tells Bleacher Report, if he wants to make sure his 2013 fight campaign leads to a title shot, he's got to close out 2012 in style.

"I think it's huge for me and I have to make a statement. I have to prove that I deserve a big fight against one of the big-name guys-which I already have and I need to stay there. If I really want 2013 to be my run at the title, this is a great way to kick it off. I'm just looking for the "W" more than anything else, but I think my drive and my abilities right now are going to make it a very strong statement. If it's not a real clean win for me, it's just because Yushin Okami is a very good fighter. It could very well be a really hard win for me, but I'll do what it takes to get the "W" and I feel pretty confident about it."

Considering the dearth of challengers at 185-pounds currently, there's no reason to think a few impressive victories wouldn't shoot "The Talent" to the front of the line.

Anyone hoping he gets there sooner rather than later?

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