Vitor Belfort is Anthony Johnson’s First Step to Conquering the UFC Middleweights

December 13, 2011

“If it goes out as planned, I just might stay at middleweight. If not, I might go back to welterweight. As of right now, it’s just a one-time thing.”

That’s what Anthony Johnson told shortly after his UFC Rio 2 (UFC 142) bout against Vitor Belfort was announced.

The fight still hasn’t happened – it takes place on Jan. 14 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil – but it sounds as if, so far, things are going as planned. Johnson, whose past UFC fights were at welterweight, still hasn’t made a commitment, but he’s got some definite ideas on his future weight class after several weeks of camp at middleweight.

“I’m not going to say I’m going back down to 170. We’ll see how this fight turns out. Right now, I feel very comfortable fighting at 185,” he said on Tuesday.

“It’s just a challenge in life. Vitor is a former champ. He’s a great athlete. So, I’m the type of guy that likes challenges and he is the perfect fight for me to make my debut at 185. Who wouldn’t want to go against a legend?”

Johnson has struggled to make the 170-pound limit in the past, but he’s been successful there, reeling off back-to-back wins recently over Dan Hardy and Charlie Brenneman.

Still, this new challenge appears to sit well with him. Johnson has left himself an out to return to the welterweight division, but less restrictions on dieting might be a considerable factor in the final decision. Of course, nothing will way more heavily than how he performs when it counts… in the Octagon.

“So far, I plan on staying at 185. I feel comfortable. I feel good. I’m confident at this weight. Right now, 170 isn’t in my mind at all. My mission is to conquer 185.”

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