There is a quickly growing list of fighters that want to challenge UFC middleweight champion Chris Weidman.
Gegard Mousasi, Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza, and Luke Rockhold are all worthy contenders. Mousasi and Jacare are about to fight, narrowing the field slightly, but the one man that is on Weidman’s mind is Vitor Belfort.
A guest recently on The MMA Hour, Weidman made his preference clear.
“I do want to fight Vitor Belfort. He’s the guy who’s been floating around the top for a while now,” said Weidman. “He’s another legend. I’ve kind of grown to enjoy fighting legends that I got into the sport watching and admiring.
“Obviously, he has his drug test issue going on. I hope somehow he can figure it out and we can get him licensed and I really don’t know how that’s working. But that’s the guy I do want to fight.”
It appears that while Weidman hasn’t actually addressed the matter with the UFC yet, his thinking is on the same wavelength as UFC president Dana White, who was asked about the champ on an interview for UFC.com on Tuesday.
“Anderson twice and now Lyoto Machida, not too shabby,” White said. “It went five rounds, Machida has that elusive style. He clipped Anderson, he didn't clip Machida and he didn't knock him out. I wanted to see how Weidman was going to be able to cut the cage off and if he'd be able to get to Machida. From the first round on he did. He hunted him down, and he hurt him every time he hit him in that first round. The kid's never been five, and he was tough enough to go five rounds, because he was exhausted by the end of the third and he toughed out those last two rounds.”
After such performances, White believes that Weidman should get what he wants: Vitor Belfort.
“How do you not respect that too? You got to love Weidman,” White said. “Anderson Silva twice, beats Machida, and now is actually calling for Vitor Belfort? That's a fight that should happen. The champ wants it, we want it, and the fans want it. Now it's a matter of getting Vitor licensed.”
Belfort had started the process of getting licensed to fight in Nevada prior to UFC 175, but when his potential opponent, Chael Sonnen, had to drop out due to failed drug tests, Belfort took a back seat. So it is still unclear what lies ahead for the Brazilian, but if he can get licensed, it appears a title shot is in the offing.