Anthony Johnson makes move to middleweight for fight with Vitor Belfort

Standing 6’2” with a chiseled frame, Anthony Johnson has long been viewed as a 185er obsessed with having a significant size advantage over opponents to the point he’s cut more than forty pounds to make the welterweight limit. However, it appears “Rumble” is done with the strain the process puts on his body and is moving up a division to focus on chasing Anderson Silva’s strap.

According to the UFC, Johnson has agreed to face Vitor Belfort on January 14 at UFC 142 when the company heads back to Brazil still basking in the glow of their South American success this past August at UFC 134. The card is expected to take place in Rio de Janeiro and will be headlined by Jose Aldo defending his featherweight title against undefeated Californian Chad Mendes.

Belfort was last seen knocking out Yoshihiro Akiyama at UFC 133. While he was expected to face Cung Le later this month at UFC 139, “The Phenom” had to duck out due to injury and provides an imposing opponent for Johnson’s middleweight debut consider Belfort’s victories over Wanderlei Silva and Rich Franklin.

Belfort Dreams of Fighting in Front of Countrymen at UFC Show

Comparably, the 27-year old Johnson holds an overall record of 10-3, less than half of Belfort’s total experience, and is coming off a pair of wins over Dan Hardy and Charlie Brenneman.