Belfort heaps praise on Souza

Vitor Belfort has heaped praise on UFC 198 opponent Ronaldo Souza ahead of their championship bout.

The pair square off at the Arena da Baixada in Curitiba, Brazil in what is sure to be a hotly contested bout, as both are former champions.

“To me, he’s the toughest fighter in the division, and it’s a big challenge for me,” quipped the 39-year-old on mmajunkie.com.

“I saw him starting out. I saw how good he is. He’s a great athlete. We trained together for a while – he came to be my sparring partner when I fought in PRIDE. I always said he had a great future, and he’s proved that.”

“He’s also very good on his feet. People talk, but he’s very good on his feet. He’s been evolving a lot.”

Belfort added that he has always enjoyed a healthy rivalry with his fellow Brazilian, though this will be the first time they will meet in the octagon.

“I’ve always had a good relationship with him,” added the former UFC light heavyweight champion.

“Our rivalry is healthy, we were never disrespectful towards each other. He’s a great fighter – a compatriot of mine that I think is the toughest in the division.”

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