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Former UFC Champion Murilo Bustamante Returns To The Ring

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Photo via <a href="">Sherdog</a>
Photo via Sherdog

Former UFC Middleweight champion Murilo Bustamante will be back in action later this month. The long-time MMA veteran will headline Amazon Forest Combat 2 on March 31 in Manaus, Brazil. The show will air in Brazil on RedeTV. Bustamante's opponent will be Dave Menne - the man Bustamante defeated for the UFC Middleweight crown back in 2002.

A 20 year veteran of the sport, Bustamante has been involved in MMA from the very beginning. As a member of Carlson Gracie's team in Brazil in the late 80's and early 90's, he was heavily involved in the camp rivalries that helped lead to the birth of MMA. He came to the UFC in 2000 and put together a 9-1-1 overall record that included winning the UFC crown and 1 successful title defense against Matt Lindland. As champion, he left the UFC for Pride in 2003, but had less success there.

Bustamante seemed to wrap up his career at the end of 2007, but came back to face UFC veteran Jesse Taylor in 2010, dropping the fight to the TUF competitor. This will only be Busta's 2nd fight since 2007.

Originally, the talk was that he would retire here, but apparently that's not the case. The 45 year old wants to fight 3 more times in 2012 before hanging it up, and he has at least one interesting opponent in mind:

This is probably my last year fighting as a professional. I hope to make three more fights before ending my career. This fight against Menne was not in my personal interest, it's more interesting for the AFC event, for having two former UFC Champions. But there are many names in my head. People like Kazushi Sakuraba that is in my weight class but I never got to fight him. It's possible for it to happen.

Bustamante vs. Sakuraba? Yes please. Sure it's about 15 years too late, but who cares - I'll watch.

While Bustamante vs. Menne headlines, the rest of the card has some other intriguing match-ups including Satoshi Ishii vs. Sokoudjou, Matt Horwich vs. Thales Leites, and Gustavo Ximu vs. Patrick Cote. Also worth noting - BE Scouting Report #1 Flyweight Dileno Lopes is on the card, which is a bit surprising as he was also just announced as a member of the TUF Brazil cast.

Check out the complete card in the full entry.

Amazon Forest Combat 2
March 31
Manaus, Brazil

Card principal:
Dave Menne X Murilo Bustamante (84 Kg);
Satoshi Ishii X Sokoudjou (93 kg);
Thales Leites X Matt Horwich (88 Kg);
Gustavo "Ximú" X Patrick Coté (84 Kg);
Ronnys Torres X Ferrid Kheder (73 Kg);
Daniel Acácio X Josh Burkman (77 Kg).

Card preliminar:
Dileno Lopes x Javier Ocampo (61 kg);
Fabiano Capoane x Emiliano Sordi (87 kg);
Rivaldo Jr. x Marcelo Rojo (66 kg);
Luiz Fernando x Pablo Javier Llampa (66 kg)