Belfort may get title shot with Hendo win
Vitor Belfort has flooded Dana White’s phone with texts, calls and e-mails for months with one thing on his mind: a middleweight title shot. And the explosive Brazilian striker is nearing closer to his wish.
All Belfort has to do is beat fellow legend Dan Henderson in the main event of UFC Fight Night on Saturday in Goias, Brazil and White says Belfort “could be next” for the winner of December’s Chris Weidman-Anderson Silva title rematch.
If Belfort loses? Well, that’s a different story. That could put him as far away from a shot as ever.
“Vitor’s gotta win the fight,” White said.
Ironically, Belfort has said in the past that he wanted to take a fight outside the middleweight division, so it doesn’t hurt his ranking. Fuzzy logic, for sure. And White doesn’t even view this bout as out of the division even though it’s at 205 since both Belfort and Henderson are 185-pounders.
“Both guys fight at both [weights],” White said, adding that neither of them wanted cut down to 185, so they settled on 205.
Belfort is more than a 2-to-1 favorite coming off head-kick knockouts over middleweight contenders Michael Bisping and Luke Rockhold. Henderson, meanwhile, has lost two split decisions in a row to Lyoto Machida and Rashad Evans.
“Vitor Belfort looks better than he’s ever looked,” White said. … “There was always speculation that Vitor mentally before fights, we didn’t know where he was. You haven’t seen that at all lately. Mentally, he’s a beast. Physically, he’s a beast. He looks more well-rounded than ever.”
Which brings up the question of his testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) exemption and how much it helps. White maintains that Belfort’s use of TRT is not abuse, unlike other fighters.
“What you can’t do is you can’t get all jacked up and have your levels go through the roof when you’re training and taper down when you get close to the fight,” White said. “That’s not right, that’s not fair. That’s what we’re really cracking down on.”
It doesn’t sound like Belfort’s TRT use will cost him a title shot. Neither will a matchup with fellow Brazilian striker Lyoto Machida, an idea White has floated in recent weeks. Machida is now set to face Gegard Mousasi in February.
But White left the door open for Belfort-Machida becoming a reality. Does that mean Belfort will have to wait even longer for a shot at the belt? At 36, he isn’t getting any younger.
“I like that fight – I like Machida vs. Belfort,” White said. “That’s an interesting fight.
“Anything can happen.”