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Although former UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Vitor Belfort is slated to take on Rich Franklin at UFC 103 on September 19, he's already looking forward to a potential showdown with UFC Middleweight Champion Anderson Silva.

"Anderson is a great friend of mine and a big champion but I'm looking for this (fight to happen)," Belfort told OUL Esporte of Brazil. "I cannot comment much on this right now but yeah, I always want to fight the best fighters. Of course it won't be a pleasure (being Silva's friend) but there isn't another way at all in the sport. Kaka and Ronaldinho (Brazilian soccer players) are friends and have faced each other many times. It is part of my work and I need it to afford milk to the children at home."

Belfort hasn't set foot inside an Octagon since he dropped a split decision to Tito Ortiz at UFC 51 back in February of 2005, however that didn't stop UFC President Dana White from wanting to bring back one of the most talented fighters they have employed.

Silva is fresh off his dominating 3:23 second knockout of former champion Forrest Griffin at UFC 101 in a light heavyweight bout. After that performance, there aren't many jumping at the chance to take on MMA's most efficient striker, however Belfort says that he is down.

"It would be a great honor to fight Anderson," Belfort respectfully stated. "He's one of the best to ever fight and I want to test my skills against the world's best."

After reports last week that Fedor Emelianenko's Strikeforce debut would be in October, Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker stated during last Saturday night's Strikeforce: Carano vs. Cyborg post-event press conference that his debut is "probably going to be in November".

Coker shot down a rumor that former UFC Heavyweight Champion Ricco Rodriguez was being considered for the fight, saying that "it was never even talked about". He stated that his opponent would likely be Brett Rogers or Fabricio Werdum, and later stated that Strikeforce Heavyweight Champion Alistair Overeem was also a possibility, if he is recovered from his hand injury.

"I definitely think there's two guys here that would be a quality opponent for Fedor," Coker said of Rogers and Werdum, who were at the press conference.

"I think Brett Rogers is one of the guys we have to take a serious look at," he continued. "And Fabricio (Werdum) looked great tonight. I think on any given day he could do his thing."

Rogers, who is coming off of a 22 second first-round knockout victory over former UFC Heavyweight Champion Andrei Arlovski in June, told that he didn't think that he would end up getting the fight. Werdum, who needed just 1:24 to defeat Mike Kyle by submission last Saturday night, noted that he was up for the fight if it were presented to him.

"It's up to Mr. Scott (Coker)," Werdum stated. "Whoever Scott tells me to fight, I'm going to fight."

He went on to joke that he isn't quite ready for the fight yet, stating, "The athletic commission says for seven days I can't fight. After that, no problem."

Meanwhile, mixed martial arts fans won't have to wait long to see "The Last Emperor" in action. Emelianenko will face newly crowned Strikeforce Light Heavyweight Champion Gegard Mousasi in an exhibition sparring match at M-1 Global: Breakthrough on August 28.

Strikeforce: Carano vs. Cyborg was held at the HP Pavilion in San Jose, California on August 15, 2009. The event aired live on the Showtime cable network and marked the first time two women headlined an event in Strikeforce history.

Below are the results for the event:

Preliminary Card
  • Alex Trevino def. Isaiah Hill by submission (keylock) at 3:56 of Round 1
  • James Terry def. Zak Bucia by TKO (head kick and punches) at 1:23 at Round 1
  • Justin Wilcox def. David Douglas by submission (rear naked choke) at 3:16 of Round 3
  • Scott Lighty def. Mike Cook by TKO (punch to the Body) at 2:05 of Round 1
  • Jay Hieron def. Jesse Taylor by unanimous decision

Main Card
  • Fabricio Werdum def. Mike Kyle by submission (guillotine choke) at 1:24 of Round 1
  • Gilbert Melendez def. Mitsuhiro Ishida by TKO (punches) at 3:56 of Round 3 to retain the Strikeforce Interim Lightweight Champion
  • Gegard Mousasi def. Renato "Babalu" Sobral by TKO (punches) at 1:00 of Round 1 to become the new Strikeforce Light Heavyweight Champion
  • Cristiane "Cyborg" Santos def. Gina Carano by TKO (punches) at 4:59 of Round 1 to become the new Strikeforce Women's Champion

The UFC had made the unexpected decision to bring back old-timer Dennis Hallman after a four-year absence from the organization. Now the UFC has re-signed another hardy veteran, adding a fight between 38-year-old Vladimir Matyushenko and Igor Pokrajac to UFC 103.

A one-time UFC light heavyweight title contender, Matyushenko went 3-2 in the UFC from 2001 to 2003, scoring wins over Yuki Kondo, Travis Wiuff and Pedro Rizzo. Since then, "The Janitor" has gone 9-1, became the IFL Light Heavyweight Champion, and most recently won a decision over Jason Lambert at Call to Arms I in May.

It was also reported that 35-year-old PRIDE and UFC veteran Marcus Aurelio will be returning later this month at UFC 102. Between Matyushenko, Aurelio, Hallman, Ortiz, and the possibility that Chuck Liddell isn't quite retired, it's clear what's going on here: The Ultimate Fighter 11: Last Call. The coaches will be Liddell and Ortiz, the minimum age will be 33, and the winner will receive $100,000 in prescription medication.

Of course, such acquisitions come with a price. UFC middleweight Thales Leites was released from his contract yesterday, following his dull split-decision loss against Alessio Sakara at UFC 101. And to think, he was the number 1 middleweight contender two fights ago; serves him right for trying to use that boring jiu-jitsu stuff. Leites joins Tamdan McCrory, Dan Cramer, and likely George Roop and Danillo Villefort in the sad gentleman's club of UFC fighters who have recently lost their jobs, meaning that every single bout on UFC 101's undercard turned out to be a "win or go home" match.

Four months after his most recent fight, a loss to Shogun Rua at UFC 97, Chuck Liddell is relaxing and enjoying life. But he's not ready to say he's retired.

In an interview Wednesday with FanHouse, Liddell said that he doesn't know if he'll fight again, and he doesn't know when he'll be ready to retire. Liddell wants to determine the future of his career on his own schedule, and he's only going to decide for sure after he gets back in the gym and tests himself again.

Liddell also talked about connecting with the fans, dealing with a Twitter imposter, and his acting career. The full interview is below.

Michael David Smith: Let's start with the question everyone is asking: Will we see you fight again?
Chuck Liddell: I don't know. I don't know what my final decision will be. It's hard for an athlete to quit what he's done his whole life. So I don't know. I'm going to make the right decision for me, and that decision could come in a couple months. But we'll see.

Dana White has made it very clear that he doesn't want you to fight. Do you wish he'd keep that opinion to himself and let you make your own decision?
He's an opinionated guy. That's how he is. He says what's on his mind, and that's why I like him: You always know what he's thinking. So that doesn't bother me.

What kind of time frame are you working on? If you decide to fight again when will that be, or if you decide to call it quits when would you officially retire?
I've always said I'm going to make that decision in the gym, not in the ring. After some time off I'll get back in the gym, throw some punches and take some punches and see how I feel again, and after that I'll make my decision.

You've lost four of your last five. If you do fight again, what do you think you need to work on to start winning again?
Well, some things work and some things don't, and for me, the way I was fighting, I was getting hit too much and taking too much damage. Things were hurting me that didn't used to hurt me. So I think I need to work on my timing and my head movement.

What do you think of Tito Ortiz returning to the UFC?
It is what it is. He's coming back and doing what he wants to do.

You've already beaten him twice. Would you like to beat him a third time?
Well, I always enjoy beating him up, but I don't see that unless he has a few wins. He'd need to have a win or two for that to make sense.

Dana has said he'd like you to be sort of an ambassador for the sport. Is connecting with fans the kind of thing you want to do more of?
Yes, for sure. I love the fans and I love the sport, so anything I can help out with in any way, I'm going to. I'm also doing this Sports Legends Challenge, where there are 25 of us sports legends going to the Bahamas and playing some poker with a bunch of fans.

Another question about connecting with fans: Are you on Twitter?
No, I'm not.

Are you aware that there's a fake Chuck Liddell on Twitter with more than 11,000 followers?
Yeah, I know, and it's ridiculous. People have called me and asked me about my Twitter, and it's not me. I think I'm going to need to take it over or get it taken down or whatever and have an official one so people know if they see something with my name on it, it's coming from me. That's why I got on MySpace, too. There was some guy on there telling people he was me, people were sending e-mails to him and he was replying like he was me, he was telling people I was going to meet them somewhere, he was telling girls to send him pictures.

You mentioned wanting to connect with the fans. Do you see the value of Twitter in doing that?
Yeah, I don't do a lot of that -- I don't like the online chats or post on message boards -- but if I get on Twitter I'll tell fans what I'm doing.

What's up with your acting career?
I've got some things coming up. I have some meetings next week talking to people about some roles. It's something I enjoy.

Everyone knows you were in Entourage and you've done some other stuff, but you were a child actor long before you were a fighter, right?
Yeah, I was in The Postman Always Rings Twice with Jack Nicholson. That was fun. I think I made like $33 or something. I got to miss a whole day of school, and when you're a little kid, that's cool.

What did you think of UFC 101?
I thought it was a good show. B.J. Penn and Anderson Silva winning was what I thought would happen, but it was a good show.

What do you make of Anderson Silva? Could he move up and win the light heavyweight belt that you owned for a couple years?
Anderson Silva is a tough guy, man. He's dangerous. He's got heavy hands and he's not afraid to throw them. He's a dangerous opponent for anyone.

Are you still watching a lot of MMA even though you're taking some time off from fighting yourself?
Absolutely, I watch all the fights I can.

Are you going to do more training of younger fighters?
I'll decide that when I make a final decision about whether I'm fighting again. Lately I've been doing other things and haven't had much time to train guys, but that's something I want to do. I like working with younger fighters.

What do you like about coaching?
I like the personal interaction. I like working on the finer points, improving the little things that can make a big difference that the younger fighters don't always know about.

When you look at where the UFC is now compared to where it was when you first started fighting, how much more popular it is and how the sport has grown, do you take a lot of personal pride in that? You were one of the best and most popular fighters and you had a lot to do with its growth.
I don't know if I'm the one who gets credit, but I'm proud of where the sport is, and I think it's still going to get bigger. It's a great sport and it's going to get a lot bigger than what it is. Mixed martial arts is great, and it's here to stay.


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