Since losing to UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva in 2011, Vitor Belfort has won four of five fights and recently scored violent knockouts of contenders Michael Bisping and Luke Rockhold. But a rematch with the champ would be a hard sell, UFC President Dana White said.
More specifically, it’d be a hard sell to Silva (33-4 MMA, 16-0 UFC), assuming he gets by top contender Chris Weidman (9-0 MMA, 5-0 UFC) on Saturday at UFC 162.
Belfort (23-10 MMA, 12-6 UFC), whose only recent loss came to light-heavyweight champion Jon Jones after the Brazilian moved up a weight class for a late-notice booking, has campaigned for a second shot at Silva. But when MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) today asked White about the possibility, he sounded less than optimistic.
“He’s looked great, but 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 devestating 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.’”
Silva actually needed three minutes to finish that UFC 126 fight. However, after 90 seconds of inaction and then after eating a few punches, Silva unloaded a vicious front kick to the face that instantly sent Belfort to the canvas. White said that no matter what happens after a performance like that, it’s tough to book a rematch, especially when so many other options are available for a kingpin like Silva.
“Those are tough fights to make,” he said.
If Silva’s 16-fight UFC win streak comes to an end in Saturday’s pay-per-view headliner, he’ll get an immediate rematch with Weidman. If victorious, he could very well end up fighting light-heavyweight champion Jon Jones or maybe welterweight titleholder Georges St-Pierre. White hasn’t even closed the door on entertaining Silva’s latest request: a boxing bout with Roy Jones Jr. (The boxer, in fact, will be one of White’s guests at UFC 162, the executive said.)
Still, White doesn’t want to completely shoot down the possibility of Silva vs. Belfort II.
“I’m not saying that’s the case,” he said. “I’m not saying Vitor couldn’t get the next shot or couldn’t get a shot soon, but if you’re Anderson Silva, you’re like, ‘I’m looking for another challenge. I want to fight GSP. I want to fight Jon Jones or somebody different than Vitor Belfort.’
“You could make a better argument that Dan Henderson should get another shot.”
However it shakes out, White said he’s dreading the day when such discussions no longer happen. The 38-year-old Silva has only so many fights left, so regardless of whom he fights, we should appreciate the performances, White said.
“That day that comes when that man says he’s going to retire, it’s going to suck,” he said. “It’s literally like when Michael Jordan went away in basketball. … You took it for granted right up until the time he left. I think it’s going to be the same way with Anderson.”
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(Pictured: Vitor Belfort)