Vitor Belfort is coming around to the idea of asking for fights as well as earning them.
The ex-champ eliminated any doubt of that today when he tweeted UFC President Dana White that he wants to fight the winner of Saturday’s UFC 162 headliner between middleweight kingpin Anderson Silva (33-4 MMA, 16-0 UFC) and Chris Weidman (9-0 MMA, 5-0 UFC).
“The fans and me are very excited to see who is going to my next opponent on this Saturday,” Belfort tweeted. “I deserve the winner!”
That’s a bold proclamation from Belfort (23-10 MMA, 12-6 UFC), who this past month told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) that he’d rather prove his title worthiness than crow about it.
“I don’t think it’s time to ask; I think it’s time to earn,” Belfort said. “That’s my ethic in life. Life is about earning. Sometimes in life, you look at very rich guys who have been given everything, and they wind up crashing. They lose their family’s fortune. They didn’t know how to keep it because they didn’t earn it. That’s how I go through life.
“I go to the gym every day. I work hard. I know I will bring that title back. But it’s not about waiting for the time. It’s about making my time now.”
Indeed, Belfort is anything but crashing as a UFC middleweight. In his previous two outings, he dispatched two of the division’s top contenders in highlight-reel fashion, knocking out Michael Bisping and Luke Rockhold with flashy head kicks.
Along the way, he’s drawn more than his share of criticism following the revelation that he has permission to undergo-testosterone replacement therapy – despite a previous suspension for a past failed steroids test. While the UFC might have given him a green light on TRT, it appears hesitant to do the same for a shot at the belt. Belfort, who’s primarily fought at 185 pounds since 2008, was knocked out in devastating fashion when he first got the opportunity against Silva at UFC 126 in 2011. “The Spider” dealt the highlight-reel blow when he front-kicked Belfort into unconsciousness.
In previous interviews, Belfort, who won and lost the light-heavyweight title nine years ago, hinted that his road to a rematch was longer than your average contender.
Should Silva retain his belt at UFC 162, which takes place at Las Vegas’ MGM Grand Garden Arena, he is likely to compete in a superfight against welterweight champ Georges St-Pierre or light-heavyweight champ Jon Jones, according to White. If Weidman wins, the executive said Silva would be granted an immediate rematch.
So it could be a while before Belfort is in position to get what would be his fourth title shot in the promotion. The self-described “young dinosaur” has been a staple of the promotion since he won a UFC tournament all the way back in 1997.
At 36 years old, the clock is ticking for “The Phenom,” and he’s apparently not willing to act as a gatekeeper. In a recent interview with Sherdog.com, he brushed aside a callout from Gegard Mousasi, who aims to return to middleweight after an extended stint at light heavyweight.
“I don’t like it how people are using Twitter – ‘Oh, he’s a good fight,’” he said. “I want to fight for the belt. That’s the goal of Vitor Belfort. I’m a winner. I’m a champion.”
For the latest on UFC 162, stay tuned to the UFC Rumors section of the site.