It took a number of strange twists and turns before ending up with Jon Jones’ upcoming title-defense against Vitor Belfort at UFC 152. The 35-year old Belfort, who hasn’t fought at 205 pounds in a number of years, was only selected for the fight after three other opponents fell through and will have to be ready to fight a month sooner than he was originally expecting.

Then again, to hear the decorated competitor tell it the September 22 meeting with Jones was always in the cards.

“It is fitting that I get to fight the best of this new generation,” began Belfort in an interview with the UFC. “I’m from the old school of fighting. I was in the UFC 12 tournament. I fought guys on no notice. Some people need to get ready to fight. I am always ready to fight. I feel that I was meant to fight Jon Jones like this.”

“This is the old lion versus the young lion; it is the original phenom versus the new phenom,” he continued, shrugging off his status as a massive underdog in the fight. “I have a pedigree and a history in the UFC; I fought Tank Abbott, I fought on a card with Dan Severn, I’ve had wars with Randy Couture, I’ve fought in PRIDE and around the world. I’m an old lion but I’m not an old man…I am experienced.”

The 21-9 Belfort will enter the bout with the momentum of back-to-back finishes against Anthony Johnson and Yoshihiro Akiyama. However, given his apparent attitude about the fight with Jones and overwhelming fan support he’s likely to receive, it sounds like Belfort’s confidence is at an all-time high regardless of how many wins he’s strung together in a row.