For Jose Aldo and Vitor Belfort, fighting this Saturday at UFC 142 offers more than just the opportunity to make a title defense or battle back up the ranks, it presents the Brazilian warriors a chance to score a victory on home soil.
UFC 142 will take place at the HSBC Arena in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and, with the UFC just now making a serious push into the market, Brazilian UFC fighters like Aldo and Belfort savor the still rare occasion of fighting in their own backyards, for their own people.
“There’s more attention and it is a great pleasure to defend my title in my home country. It means everything for me to come back fighting in my country as a champion,” said Aldo.
“This is where I started, just with dreams and hopes, and now I am back as a champion. It is a great feeling, but I will try to think about it after the fight. I still have to train hard and win this fight.”
A seasoned veteran gearing up for a serious fight, as well as a coaching stint on The Ultimate Fighter: Brazil, Belfort is looking forward to competing in front of the kind of rabid fanbase that he believes will push MMA into worldwide popularity.
“I am so happy to be fighting on this card. I have the coaching with The Ultimate Fighter: Brazil coming up (after this fight) but I am 100 percent focused on this fight,” said Belfort.
“I do believe UFC will surpass soccer as the No. 1 sport in Brazil. It has everything in place – the stars, the athletes – to become the biggest sport in the world. I think it will overtake every sport in the world. People deny that, but I think it is already happening. The Junior dos Santos fight in November had more Brazilian (TV viewers) than Brazil vs. Argentina (soccer match).”
Competing at UFC 142 this Saturday, Aldo will attempt to defend his featherweight title again, this time taking on another Team Alpha Male product in Chad Mendes, while Belfort will greet middleweight newcomer Anthony “Rumble” Johnson to the division.