by Jeff Cain – MMAWeekly.com
The last time the Ultimate Fighting Championship was in Brazil was Oct. 16, 1998, at the Portuguesa Gymnasium in Sao Paulo for UFC Brazil: Ultimate Brazil, also known as UFC 17.5.
The company at the time was owned by SEG and not yet purchased by Zuffa, LLC.
Pat Miletich defeated Mikey Burnett to obtain the first UFC welterweight title, Frank Shamrock defended his belt with a win over John Lober, Pedro Rizzo knocked out David “Tank” Abbot, and Vitor Belfort dispatched of Wanderlei Silva in just 44 seconds.
Fast-forward 12 years and the UFC plans to return to South America’s largest country, but it’s not because of mixed martial arts’ Brazilian roots.
“We were not looking at Brazil anytime soon, but because Brazil got the Olympics, now we’re seriously looking at Brazil,” UFC president Dana White said following UFC 110 when asked by Wanderlei Silva, who made his Octagon debut that October night in 1998.
“Yes, we’re probably going to Brazil very soon,” said White.
No timeframe has been set for when the Octagon will return to Brazil, but the promotion has ample fighters hailing from there to stack up the card, including middleweight titleholder Anderson Silva, light heavyweight champion Lyoto Machida, and contenders Mauricio “Shogun” Rua, Junior Dos Santos, Vitor Belfort, the Nogueira brothers, Demian Maia, and Wanderlei Silva, just to name a few.