During Thursday’s pre-UFC 160 media day, UFC President Dana White stated that the promotion currently has no plans in regards to Vitor Belfort’s next fight. However, Mr. White did add that ‘The Phenom’s” next bout could be a middleweight title shot – and that it could happen in Las Vegas:
“There’s no plans right now with Vitor, he just fought. We’ll see what happens. It would make sense for him to get that fight (The winner of Silva vs Weidman), and that’s not far away. Those two fight, and we see what happens, or Vitor could fight again. I don’t know. But he could fight either one of those guys.”
Vitor Belfort (23-10 MMA, 12-6 UFC) most recently headlined this past weekends UFC on FX 8 event in Brazil, where he succesfully disposed of ex-Strikeforce titleholder Luke Rockhold with a wheel kick before fully removing him from consciousness in the opening round.
Belfort’s highlight-reel KO marked the second time he’s used a kick to put away his opponent. In his previous outing, he starched top contender Michael Bisping with a head kick and then punches.
The victory over Rockhold moved Belfort to an impressive 4-0 in his past four middleweight bouts, with all of those wins coming by way of referee stoppage.
Silva and Weidman are set to headline July’s UFC 162 event in Las Vegas. Although “The Spider” has teased us with few long-rumored superfights, White suggested that Belfort could very well be the No. 1 contender at 185 pounds and earn a rematch with the champ, to whom he lost at UFC 126.
“Vitor looked great,” White said. “Spinning back kick – he looked awesome.”
Where the fight would take place is another story. Three of Vitor’s past four contests have taken place in Brazil, where the Comissao Atletica Brasileira de MMA (CABMMA) is still setting up its roots, leading some pundits to question whether or not the new commission is capable or properly monitoring Belfort’s approved use of testosterone replacement therapy. Some observers have contested that UFC officials are purposely keeping Belfort in Brazil for that exact reason, but White insists that is simply not the case:
“We’re not keeping Vitor out of fighting from anywhere, we had Vitor fight in Brazil because Vitor sells out in Brazil. It’s all a bunch of conspiracy theory crock of s–t.”
Still, Nevada State Athletic Commission Executive Director Keith Kizer has previously stated he doesn’t believe the NSAC would offer a therapeutic-use exemption to Belfort based on his previous issues with anabolic steroid use.
“It’s not that they’re going to have a problem licensing him,” White said. “They’re going to rake him over the coals is what they’re going to do.”
If Belfort does indeed become the next contender to the middleweight title, White said he’ll have no problem booking the bout, even as he remains an outspoken critic of the TRT that has become a part of Belfort’s routine.
“The whole TRT thing with Vitor has just become this huge – people are going after Vitor Belfort, is what they’re doing. TRT is legal. Everybody knows that. Vitor Belfort was tested leading all the way up to the fight. He was tested during the fight. We’re waiting for those results to come back, and I’m positive he’s going to be fine.”
The UFC president continued..
“Vitor doesn’t want this. He’s aggravated and pissed off about this stuff. He doesn’t want to be smeared. I don’t like TRT. I’m not a fan of it. I don’t like it at all. … (But) Vitor Belfort followed the rules and did everything he’s supposed to do. … What I don’t like is guys using this TRT exemption as a loophole to get all jacked up during training and then come back to normal levels before the fight. That’s what I don’t like, and that’s what I don’t want.”
Should Vitor Belfort be the next contender for the middleweight strap? Let’s hear it Penn Nation!