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.

Maybe.

All Belfort has to do is beat fellow legend Dan Henderson in the

main event of

target="_blank">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.

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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.”

Cryptic.