After defeating a much bigger foe in Anthony Johnson last weekend (Jan. 14, 2012) at UFC 142 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Vitor Belfort will now focus his attention on coaching the next wave of aspiring mixed martial arts (MMA) fighters when serves as a coach in the Ultimate Fighting Championship's (UFC) first-ever international season of The Ultimate Fighter (TUF): "Brazil" opposite his next opponent, Wanderlei Silva.
The two coaches will collide in what will be a rematch 14 years in the making, which is tentatively scheduled to take place in their home country of Brazil in the middle of this year.
In their first encounter, which also took place in Brazil, way back in 1998 at UFC 17.5, "The Phenom" blitzed through "The Axe Murderer" in only 44 seconds with a barrage of punches for which Silva had no answer.
However, Belfort feels this next time around, the fight will be much tougher as he sent out this tweet via his official Twitter account (interpreted via Bloody Elbow) to praise his upcoming opponent, as well as clear up any misinterpretations.
Check it out:
"I would like to make it clear that I didn't say anything about @wandfc not having a chin, I said it was going to be a very tough fight. For me @wandfc is one of the best fighters of all time and is an example of maturity and I will never disrespect my opponent."
Much has changed since their initial encounter.
Silva enjoyed a long, prosperous an successful run in Pride FC as its middleweight champion, but has had mixed results after re-joining the UFC in 2007. Belfort, on the other hand, has since competed in various organizations from Pride FC, Affliction MMA and Cage Rage before re-signing with the UFC in 2009.
"The Phenom" also spoke to "MMA: Inside The Arena" (via Sherdog.com), that his UFC 142 performance against "Rumble" deserved "Fight of the Night" honors, as well as the hefty check that accompanies it, but didn't get the bonus as a result of the promotion being unhappy with Johnson.
That extra $65,000 in bonus money would have gone a long way in taking care of a very large training partner bill:
"A wrestler won't be able to take me down and give me a hard time. I came from jiu-jitsu. I had seven trainers working with me during the last three months. I spent around $100,000 with them. They decided to award Barboza with the best knockout and best fight of the night. I think I deserved at least the best fight, but the problem is that they would have to reward Johnson, too, and Dana is really mad at him."
Indeed, UFC head honcho Dana White was not happy with Johnson because the fact that he came in overweight for a third time and did not meet the required 185-pound limit.
What do you say Manaics, was Belfort's and Johnson's one round of action enough to best Edson's Barboza's and Terry Etim's back-and forth affair? And will his rematch between Wanderlei Silva have similar results to their first encounter?