It’s been 10 years since Murilo Bustamante defeated Dave Menne to become the second UFC middleweight champion. Since then, he’s had a rollercoaster ride of ups and downs, but always he’s remained positive and a fan favorite.
Two years removed from his last fight, Bustamante will return to action to once again face Menne, this time as part of Amazon Forest Combat 2 in his native Brazil.
As for why it’s been so long since his last fight, the Brazilian Top Team leader Bustamante chalks it up to one of the hazards of the sport.
“I was supposed to fight in October 2010 in Sweden for Superior FC and in Clube Da Luta in Brazil in July 2011, but I got injuries in both cases,” said Bustamante. “I didn’t give up the (will to) fight or retire, I just couldn’t fight because of injuries I had.
“My training is going very well, and I am being very careful to not get any kind of injury in this camp.”
Bustamante told MMAWeekly.com that he anticipates 2012 being his last year as an active fighter. As such, the desire to go out on a winning streak is there.
“Wins are always important because they are the result of your work,” said Bustamante. “Losses make you frustrated something went wrong some way during the fight or your training camp.
“Now I am fighting to have fun, and feel the fire in my stomach again, but am always looking for wins.”
At 45-years-old, Bustamante’s desire to win still matches his work ethic, even though age has admittedly made alterations to the way he handles himself before a fight.
“I have to take care of my body and my old injuries now,” said Bustamante. “But I am still training as hard as I can with my students. I work in the same way, trying to improve my game in all disciplines.
“I am older, but wiser, and will be ready to fight in any discipline the fight happens.”
Bustamante was asked if he feels his rematch with Menne will be any different 10 years later, he replied, “Man, I really don’t know. I’m going there to have fun just being in the cage. I am working hard in my camp to be ready to fight anywhere the fight goes.
“What is going to happen, I don’t know. A fight is a fight and anything can happen. The only thing I know is that I will be in I can be when the cage is closed. I have been learning and studying new tricks, and I will try to use them for sure.”
Looking towards the future, Bustamante wants to build on his foundation for those around him to have success.
“I am really busy with a lot of stuff,” he said. “Training my fighters and taking care of my family and son. Probably this will be my last year in the cage and my goal is to fight in Brazil and Rio, my city, where everything started a long time ago.
“I will always do what I do: Training my fighters and living my life in the sport; teaching, managing and helping my fighters. The chance to be in the cage will make me a better coach for my students and fighters.”
Whether this year, or this fight in Amazon FC for the matter, is his last in MMA, Bustamante is always grateful to those who have supported him wherever he goes.
“I would like to thank my fans and the BTT fans that have been supporting us for a long time.”