This is a challenge, and what’s life without challenges?. I hopped on this challenge and accepted it. Sometimes you have to go out of your comfort zone or your element just to see how you do… I feel just fine about the matchup. He can’t do nothing that I can’t do. Anything he thinks he can do, I think I can do better. I think it’s a pretty even matchup. He’s fast, I’m fast. He’s powerful, I’m powerful. It’s going to be a fight that really determines who’s the man at the end of the day. Either one of us can get dropped, so it’s going to see who has the most heart… All I know is I’m going to win. I’m going to go out and do my best, and give the fans what they want and deserve. This is my first fight in Brazil. I have so much energy and excitement built up in me for this. I’m ready to get in camp, get with the Blackzilians and do what we do: train hard and win fights.”

— Anthony Johnson talking to MMA Fighting about his upcoming fight against Vitor Belfort at UFC 142

Anthony Johnson thinks its “a pretty even match-up” and on paper it might be, but he will have a couple things working against him.

  • It’s his first fight at middleweight. He’ll come into the fight bigger and stronger than his welterweights fights, but so will his competition.
  • He’ll be fighting in very hostile territory. If we learned anything about the Brazilian crowd at UFC 134, it’s that they are extremely loud and loyal to their own. They have no problem booing all foreign fighters right out of the arena. If Johnson can’t tune it out, it could become a distraction.
  • He’s fighting Vitor Belfort. Belfort may be aging but he still has the power of a middleweight with the speed of a welterweight and over a decade of big fight experience to boot. The only fighter Johnson has faced that’s on a remotely similar level to Belfort is Josh Koscheck and he lost.

I’m not saying Johnson can’t win, but I do think it’s going to be a tough fight for him.

Here’s more from Johnson on the match-up via KNOXX Gear:

Image via Dave Mandel for Sherdog