Dana White: Vitor Belfort still No. 1 contender, but must beat Hendo to keep status
It’s safe to say that Dana White and Vitor Belfort don’t exactly see eye to eye on most things, but, the one thing the pair can agree on is that “The Phenom” is the middleweight division’s No. 1 contender.
The UFC president repeated that sentiment on Tuesday, stating on a conference call that Belfort “definitely” still held claim to the middleweight’s top contender spot, despite his upcoming light heavyweight bout against Dan Henderson.
However, if Vitor were to lose to Dan Henderson this weekend (as he did in their first encounter), Dana White believes it could affect ”The Phenom’s” 185-pound ranking:
“If [Belfort] loses to Dan Henderson, could he still fight for the title? No, I don’t think so.” said White.
“Vitor’s got to win the fight. This isn’t one of those fights where he’s moving up to light heavyweight to fight Jon Jones. He’s fighting another 185-pounder. They just decided not to cut weight, to fight at 205.”
Regardless of any disagreements, it’s clear that White respects what Belfort has been able to accomplish during his late-career resurgence:
“The Vitor Belfort of today is nothing like the Vitor Belfort of the past,” White said. “There [used to be] lots of speculation about Vitor’s mental (game), where he was mentally when he goes into a fight. And you haven’t seen that at all lately. Mentally he is a beast, physically he is a beast. He looks more well-rounded than ever.”
The former UFC light heavyweight champion, Vitor Belfort (23-10 MMA, 12-6 UFC), will face former Strikeforce and Pride champion, Dan Henderson (29-10 MMA, 6-4 UFC), in this weekend’s “UFC Fight Night 32″ main event. The fight serves as a rematch from their days in Pride, where “Hendo” was able to score a unanimous decision win over Belfort at ‘Pride 32.’
Who do you have winning this battle of old Lions? Let’s hear it Penn Nation!