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Wanderlei Silva calls out Vitor Belfort for bare-knuckle debut: ‘Are you a man, or will you run?’

UFC on FUEL TV: Silva v Stann Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

Former Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) middleweight smashing machine Wanderlei Silva, who renewed the lease on his mixed martial arts (MMA) life under the Bellator MMA banner, is not ready to call it a career just yet.

Sure, “The Axe Murderer” hasn’t won back-to-back fights since 2006 and competed just twice over the last six years — both of them losses — but Silva (35-14-1, 1 NC) appears to have found a place he can call home at the tender age of 43.

Assuming Bare Knuckle Fighting Championship (BKFC) can find him the right opponent.

“I think I have finally found the perfect stage to settle all my beefs in the sport,” Silva told AG Fight. “You can only use your hands in bare knuckle boxing. I sent one of the promoters an audio clip, they’re offering quite the amount, an impressive amount of cash, more than what I’m making. I told them I really wanted to fight, but against a particular guy. I would accept if I could face Vitor Belfort. Bare knuckles, five two-minute rounds, only boxing. I want to see if he’s a man or if he’ll run. We found the right place to settle one of the sport’s oldest rivalries. What’s up, Vitor? Are you in or are you going to run?”

Belfort, 42, is running ... after a fight with Roy Jones Jr. in Asia.

“The Phenom” holds a technical knockout win over “The Axe Murderer” from their UFC 17.5 showdown all the way back in 1998. Silva has been clamoring for a rematch ever since and nearly had his chance at UFC 147 until this happened.

Former MMA fighters who wore out their welcome in top promotions — or perhaps didn’t have the capacity to perform at an elite level — have been finding work on the bare-knuckle boxing circuit, though not every one of those stories has a happy ending.

Silva vs. Belfort in 2020 ... who wants it?

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