According to the official web site for the U.K.-based magazine Fighter’s Only, former World Extreme Cagefighting middleweight champion Paulo Filho is looking to make his return to either the Strikeforce organization or Sengoku which is based in Japan.
His coach told the Brazilian MMA web site Tatame that Filho was looking to jump right into the frying pan and fight former EliteXC middleweight champion Robbie Lawler under the Strikeforce banner. He also said they had offered Fihlo’s services to the Japan-based Sengoku promotion.
Filho made a name for himself fighting in Japan under the PRIDE banner and was undefeated until losing to Chael Sonnen at WEC 36 back in November of 2008. That fight was a rematch of their first fight at WEC 31 in December of 2007,which ended in controversy with the referee stopping the bout while Sonnen was screaming.
The rematch was postponed due to Filho entering a substance abuse program. Filho came into their second fight eight pounds overweight and raised questions about his mental altertness during a unanimous decision to Sonnen. Zuffa, the parent company of both the WEC and the UFC, subsequently released him.
The recent interview by Filho’s coach comes in light of previous reports of of the Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt fighting for the fledgling Bellator Fighting Championships, which is slated to conduct eight-man tournaments in the featherweight, lightweight, welterweight and middleweight divisions. The events will will air on ESPN Deportes.
Indications are that Filhi’s camp did not agree with the way Bellator has structured its contracts, claiming they were too restrictive. Jorge Guimaraes, Filho’s coach, is quoted as saying that the contracts were cruel and that there were issues raised about whether the deal would still be binding if Bellator went four months without finding a fight for Filho.
Filho holds a MMA record of 16-1 and has recorded notable victories over Sonnen, Kazuo Misaki, Ryo Chonan and Murilo “Ninja” Rua. He is considered one of the top Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu practitioners in the world and has trained with Anderson Silva and the Noguiera brothers.