UFC middleweight contender Vitor Belfort (23-10 MMA, 12-6 UFC) heard Dana White’s explanation for why a rematch with Anderson Silva (33-4 MMA, 16-0 UFC) might not happen, but he’s not buying the logic for one second.
“It’s incredible how it seems as though Anderson is the one picking his opponents,” Belfort told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com). “My spot is the highest of any division contender in the UFC, and it is only logical and fair for me to be given a shot at the title.
“Why is it that I don’t have a title shot? Just because one time, Anderson happened to land a kick? I can assure you that given a second chance, that would never happen again.”
UFC middleweight champion Silva headlines this weekend’s UFC 162 in event at Las Vegas’ MGM Grand Garden Arena, where he defends the belt against undefeated challenger Chris Weidman (9-0 MMA, 5-0 UFC). UFC President White revealed Silva’s future plans are all but set, regardless of result. A loss would lead to an instant rematch with Weidman, who actually offered the idea to the UFC boss. A Silva win would lead to a superfight, according to White.
But where does that leave Belfort, a fighter who recently scored knockout wins over two men – Luke Rockhold and Michael Bisping – who were expected to receive title shots had they not fallen short against “The Phenom.”
White on Thursday revealed Belfort was probably out of luck since Silva scored a first-round knockout in the pair’s February 2011 meeting with a memorable front kick to the face.
“The hard position that Vitor is in is when you talk about a rematch for him, it’s like, [Silva] kicked him in the face in the first 60 seconds in one of the most devastating knockouts of all-time,” he said. “So when you go back to Anderson Silva, who’s in the twilight of his career, and you say to a guy like Anderson, ‘Eh, what about Vitor?’ He’d say, ‘I annihilated Vitor. I made it look like Vitor isn’t even a fighter we should have been fighting.’”
Belfort doesn’t believe that’s a proper attitude for a UFC champion.
“I have proven myself over and over,” Belfort said. “It seems that Anderson wants to go on and do superfights or whatever, but how can he think of doing a superfight right now when he has a contender of my caliber waiting to compete for the belt? I have no problem with superfights, as long as they don’t tie up the belt from other great contenders who deserve a chance to accomplish the greatest moments of their career. But nobody should be able to strip me of the dreams that God gave me and that I have worked so hard to achieve.
“It doesn’t matter who is the champion or how many title defenses they have, they should fight the person who is the No. 1 contender in the sport, and that person is me. I really can’t understand any reason why Anderson would refuse to fight me, unless he was scared that the result would be different this time.”
Belfort’s lone loss at middleweight in the past seven years was the defeat to Silva. He is 9-2 in his past 11 overall fights, with the other defeat coming in a valiant effort against light heavyweight champ Jones. For that reason, Belfort believes he deserves one more shot at the title, and he points to Weidman’s credentials as proof he’s earned the opportunity.
“I have no personal beef against Anderson or any other fighter,” Belfort said. “I’m just talking about every fighter’s dream to win the belt – to fight for the world championship. That’s what this business is all about. If Chris Weidman can get a title shot just by defeating Mark Munoz, imagine how much I deserve this after devastating everyone they put in front of me, not to mention all that I have contributed to the history of the sport.
“I deserve more respect for what I have done, am still doing, and am about to do. Come on – they even say that it makes more sense for Anderson to fight Dan Henderson? What a joke!”
To add strength to his case, Belfort pointed toward the UFC’s heavyweight division, where current champ Cain Velasquez and former titleholder Junior dos Santos will in October complete a trilogy series that took place in less than a two-year span.
“Think about this: Cain got knocked out in a devastating loss to ‘Cigano,’ and after one fight he gets another title shot,” Belfort said. “Then after being massacred by Velasquez for five rounds, now ‘Cigano’ gets another chance for the title. In order for a rematch to take place, the champion must accept a challenge. Both Cigano and Velasquez accepted. But I, on the other hand, crushed all the contenders that were put in front of me, and it seems that I have earned nothing, not even the respect I deserve for all I have done for the sport.”
Ultimately, of course, it will be up to White and the rest of the UFC brass to determine what happens next for Belfort. But the 36-year-old Brazilian does not figure to fade quietly into the background. With four-straight stoppage wins in the middleweight division, he trusts that both Silva and Weidman will respect his position as a top contender.
“I trust that if Anderson keeps the belt on Saturday night or if Chris Weidman wins, they will accept the challenge to fight me next because I earned the spot,” Belfort said. “Dana White, make it happen!”
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(Pictured: Vitor Belfort)