Luke Rockhold Deserves the Title Shot If Belfort Cannot Go

When Chris Weidman defeated Lyoto Machida at UFC 175, it was clear that his original foe, Vitor Belfort, was next in line for a shot at the middleweight championship.

For Weidman’s third defense, things aren’t as simple for the UFC as faxing out a pair of bout agreements and picking an arena, as the Brazilian’s drug testing issues aren’t completely behind him.

Belfort tested positive for elevated testosterone levels in a random drug screening in Nevada back in February, and if the Nevada State Athletic Commission won’t license him, Luke Rockhold is the man who most deserves a title fight against Chris Weidman.

The question about whether or not Vitor Belfort will get a license is a valid one. The UFC would prefer to have Belfort’s next fight in Brazil, but UFC President Dana White has stated recently that he needs to be granted a license to fight by the NSAC before the UFC would book him again, in Nevada or otherwise.

As’s Brett Okamoto wrote (via UFC-Buzz), Belfort’s case is unique in nature:

The Nevada State Athletic Commission has no precedence regarding certain details of Belfort’s application -- nor is it likely to face these details again as they pertain to testosterone replacement therapy, which is now effectively banned in combat sports. 

Belfort’s positive test-result indicated the presence of synthetic testosterone, a fact that wasn’t new. He was planning on filing for a therapeutic-use exemption with the NSAC for his fight with Weidman, which was planned for May.

TRT has since been banned, and Belfort has a recent positive drug test on his record.

After all the testing, and discussions of relevancy of ratios, and nanograms per-deciliters, and whether or not the NSAC handled the banning of testosterone-replacement therapy as well as they could have, the question remains: Will Vitor Belfort get licensed to fight in Nevada?

We don’t know.

If he does then he is free to face Weidman for the title wherever the UFC pleases, which will most likely be in Brazil. If he doesn’t get a fighter’s license, the next-best option is Luke Rockhold, whose only loss in the past six years has come against Belfort, who was on a straight tear through the middleweight division.

The former Strikeforce middleweight champion rebounded from that unsuccessful UFC debut by decimating Costas Philippou with a kick to the body in their January encounter, finishing him two minutes and 31 seconds into the first round.

He looked as impressive as ever with another first-round finish in his last outing, this time against Tim Boetsch, who tapped to a vicious reverse-triangle choke.

During his Strikeforce tenure, he notched wins against Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza and Tim Kennedy, both of whom have gone 3-0 inside the Octagon since the Strikeforce merger and are nearing title contention themselves.

Rockhold hasn’t just beaten everyone aside from Belfort, but he’s shown growth in both his striking and grappling each time we’ve seen him in the cage.

A Weidman vs. Rockhold matchup would be interesting stylistically as well, as Weidman likes to close the distance and cut off the cage, while Rockhold likes to find his range and confuse you with his striking.

We’ve seen Weidman take Machida down, but Rockhold wouldn’t be as quick as Lyoto to try to get the fight back to the feet. Rockhold is not only comfortable in any position, but he’s also creative almost everywhere the fight goes.

Weidman is on a quest to establish himself as one of the most dominant UFC champions of all time. In order to do that he is going to need to defeat the current crop of middleweight contenders, which is as talent-rich as the division has ever seen.

Should Vitor Belfort not be able to sort out his commission troubles, Luke Rockhold is by far the clearest choice to challenge Chris Weidman next for the middleweight title. He’s outclassed highly ranked fighters and could even be Weidman’s most formidable foe.

view original article >>
Report here if this news is invalid.

Related News

Michael Bisping Blasts Luke Rockhold and Girlfriend Demi Lovato |

  • 25 days ago

Of course Michael Bisping has something to say about Luke Rockhold's new girlfriend. read news >>

Tyron Woodley: Why He Doesn't Like 'Wonderboy' Thompson (video) |

  • 25 days ago

UFC welterweight champion Tyron Woodley discusses defeating Robbie Lawler for the title and defending the belt against Stephen Thompson at UFC 205. read news >>

Tate prepared to take first step back towards title

  • 25 days ago

UFC 205 will see Miesha Tate fight Raquel Pennington at the fabled Madison Square Garden on Nov. 12. Tate lost the title to current champion Amanda Nunes and is about to begin her climb back up the b read news >>

Chris Weidman vs. Yoel Romero Announced for UFC 205: Latest Details, Reaction

  • 24 days ago

UFC President Dana White announced Tuesday morning that Chris Weidman and Yoel Romero will face off during the UFC 205 card at Madison Square Garden on Nov. 12. UFC vice president of public relations read news >>

Chris Weidman vs. Yoel Romero official for UFC 205 in NYC

  • 24 days ago

After weeks of uncertainty, New York native Chris Weidman finds a place on the first UFC card in New York.The former middleweight champion will be fighting No. 4 ranked middleweight Yoel Romero at th read news >>

Chris Weidman vs. Yoel Romero Latest, Perhaps Final, UFC 205 Bout |

  • 24 days ago

The long rumored bout between Chris Weidman and Yoel Romero is now official. It is the latest, and possibly final, confirmed bout for UFC 205. read news >>

Weidman Gets UFC 205 Home Game at MSG

  • 24 days ago

Former UFC middleweight champion Chris Weidman won't be fighting to regain his 185-pound title on November 12, but competing in his home state on the historic UFC 205 card against Yoel Romero will read news >>

Chris Weidman Carries the Pride of New York into UFC 205 (video) |

  • 23 days ago

Former UFC champion Chris Weidman will enter his fight with Yoel Romero at UFC 205 with the pride of New York on his shoulders. read news >>

'Jacare' Souza talks 'peacock' Rockhold, 'liar' Bisping and the elusive UFC title shot

  • 23 days ago

BRASILIA, Brazil – While he believes Luke Rockhold had been ducking their rematch for years, Ronaldo 'Jacare' Souza still holds a lot of respect for his confident UFC Fight Night 101 opponent. As for read news >>

Video: Watch UFC 204's Michael Bisping KO Luke Rockhold, win middleweight title and go nuts

  • 17 days ago

Michael Bisping had been fighting in the UFC for more than 10 years by the time he finally got a title shot. See how he captured the middleweight championship inside. Filed under: News, UFC, Videos read news >>