Anthony “Rumble” Johnson will make his middleweight debut this Saturday against MMA veteran Vitor Belfort, a tough task made tougher by the fact that he’ll be facing The Phenom in his home country of Brazil.
Rapidly approaching the fight now, Belfort is feeling comfortable, at home. He sees himself a lion readying to devour an opponent that doesn’t have enough skill on top of his size.
“Man, I feel great. I’m relaxed, my weight is good, my preparations are coming together well,” said Belfort. “My next step might be determined already with (coaching) TUF Brasil, but I’m not looking past Anthony Johnson. Anthony is certainly a big fighter, but size isn’t everything. The king of the jungle is the lion, not the elephant.”
Long regarded as one of the top prospects in the welterweight division, Rumble Johnson recently decided to stop torturing himself with a drastic weight cut to compete at a more natural weight of 185lbs. Despite pulling a tough first draw in Belfort, Johnson is feeling more threatening than ever and welcomes the challenge the his seasoned opponent poses.
“Vitor says he’s the lion and I love it. Before my granddad passed, he told me to always look across the cage as if there was a lion staring at me. When Vitor said he was the lion, I loved it,” Johnson said. “It’s provided the type of motivation I’m looking for. I’m going to go out there and have a good time with this. I’m not scared of him. Let me fight the lion.”
Johnson and Belfort will do battle this weekend at UFC 142: Aldo vs. Mendes, which goes down at the HSBC Arena in Rio de Janeiro. FightLine will be back on the night, as always, with live, ongoing coverage of the event.