The announcement that the UFC was heading back to Brazil made many fighters throughout the promotion extremely happy, but none more so than the dozens of Brazilian fighters that fill out the ranks.
The UFC hasn’t been to Brazil under the ownership of Zuffa, and the promotion as a whole hasn’t been there since Oct. 16, 1998, so with over a decade in waiting the country is sure to be buzzing.
Murilo Bustamante, a former UFC middleweight champion, who still owns and operates Brazilian Top Team in Brazil believes the UFC coming back will be a huge occasion for both the fighters and the country as a whole.
“I think UFC in Brazil is good for everyone,” Bustamante told MMAWeekly.com. “It will help to increase the Martial Arts market in Brazil, good for them, because they are returning to South America, to the country where everything began, BJJ and Vale Tudo, a country that has a history in MMA.”
The early UFC’s were of course dominated by Royce Gracie, a UFC Hall of Famer, who has also expressed interest in possibly fighting on UFC Rio slated for August.
UFC president Dana White had said several times that once Brazil got the nod for the Olympics to come there in 2016, it only made sense for them to bring the sport back to its roots. It also doesn’t hurt that Brazil has become a robust economy over the last few years, and a UFC in the country is almost a guaranteed success.
Bustamante believes the show will be a huge success and more shows are surely to follow. He also thinks Rio De Janiero was the perfect location for the show.
“I am sure that UFC will make money and spread their brand strongly in South America after this show in Rio,” said Bustamante. “In my opinion they couldn’t have chose a better city to go.”
Many Brazilian fighters have already expressed an interest in fighting on the card. During the initial press conference fighters like Anderson Silva, Vitor Belfort and Jose Aldo appeared, while others like Thiago Alves have already asked the UFC to be placed on the August card.
There’s no telling how many native Brazilians will end up on the August card, but it will likely be quite a few of them in what should be a homecoming none of them will ever forget.