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Wanderlei Silva Challenges Vitor Belfort, “The Phenom” Accepts

The time appears ripe for the stoking of an old rivalry, as Brazilian middleweight fighters Wanderlei Silva and Vitor Belfort have both publicly declared a desire and willingness to fight the other. “The Axe Murderer” instigated the exchange in a conversation with

“And now, where are you running to?,” Silva asked. “I’d give him the number one (on the line to fight me) easily, I’m challenging him … I want him.”

Shortly thereafter, Belfort spoke with Tatame and accepted Silva’s challenge on the provision that their bout come before the UFC’s planned August trip to Brazil.

“Let’s do it, brother. I accept it,” said Belfort. “He’s a great athlete, a great champion, and it would be a pleasure to fight him. It’d be a highly anticipated fight, very important for the sport. Whatever Dana says I’ll do, I never chose opponents and I won’t do it now. But he made the challenge and I’m accepting it. I just don’t wanna wait for the UFC Rio to come back, I wanna fight first.”

Belfort and Silva first met at the UFC’s initial trip to Brazil at UFC Ultimate Brazil in 1998. The fight was a star-making turn for Belfort, as the then-twenty year old striker punched Silva across the cage in the opening seconds of the fight, earning a forty four second knockout and a permanent place on MMA highlight reels.

Silva has been out of action since his UFC 110 (February 21,2010) victory over Michael Bisping to rehab a knee injury which required surgery. Meanwhile, Belfort ended up on the wrong side of a highlight reel in his own first round knockout loss to Anderson Silva, which went down last weekend at UFC 126.