Chris Weidman said on Monday that he wanted to defend his UFC middleweight title against Vitor Belfort next, and it appears as if he'll get his wish.
"We want to make that fight happen," UFC President Dana White told reporters in Dublin on Friday. "That's the next fight. That fight should've already happened before the Machida. That's the fight we want to do and that's the fight that Chris Weidman wants. I love this kid calling out Vitor.
"The champ wants to fight Vitor Belfort, man. I don't blame him, I would too."
Weidman (12-0) was previously scheduled to defend his belt against Belfort at UFC 175, however Belfort, a longtime user of testosterone replacement therapy (TRT), withdrew from the fight less than 24 hours after the Nevada Athletic Commission (NAC) banned the controversial treatment.
It was subsequently revealed that Belfort had failed a random pre-fight drug test in Nevada, popping for extremely elevated levels of testosterone, although Belfort refused to release the test results and instead maintained that the subject was "irrelevant" until a spot against Chael Sonnen opened up at UFC 175 and Belfort had to apply for a license to fight in Nevada, which meant that the test results would have come to light anyway.
Belfort (24-10) has yet to appear before the NAC, as the proposed UFC 175 bout ultimately fell through due to a pair of failed tests on Sonnen's part. However the Brazilian is scheduled to do so at the NAC's July 23rd meeting in Las Vegas, where he will finally apply for a license to fight Weidman.
Surprisingly though, on Friday, White was adamant that if Belfort is awarded a license by the NAC, the UFC may look elsewhere as a venue for his next fight.
"It doesn't have to take place in Nevada," White said of Weidman-Belfort. "That fight would be big in Brazil, too.
"I would do it Brazil. As long as the commission clears him, yeah. We'd want the okay from Nevada, and if Nevada was cool with it, I'd do it in Brazil."
Belfort, who also tested positive for the anabolic steroid 4-Hydroxytestosterone in 2006, fought three times last year in Brazil under a shroud of controversy due to PED suspicion and his admitted TRT use. All three of the 37-year-old's fights ended via brutal head kick knockouts.
Regardless of Belfort's failed test, though, White would be more than willing to make it four straight.
"Where are we going to go, New York?" the UFC president asked.
"Do you know how big that fight would be in Brazil? Huge. That fight would be big in Brazil. That would be a big stadium. We'd sell out there, and it'd be a big fight."