In a move that some thought wasn't good for a title-shot-wanting Vitor Belfort, Belfort was matched up with Wanderlei Silva at the inaugural "The Ultimate Fighter: Brazil" with a coaches showdown scheduled in Brazil at UFC 147.
Like the seemingly millions of other fighters cursed by bad luck this year, Belfort had to withdraw from his fight with Silva due to injury. Now though, Belfort doesn't feel that Silva is the right man to get him to the title picture after Silva lost last weekend to Belfort's replacement, Rich Franklin.
“Actually, [Wanderlei] is a fight that will not take me to the title. I mean, I would face Wanderlei… but only because its the fight the fans want to see. Whatever the UFC decides, it has to be done. I don’t know how long he will get medical suspension because he took many hits, both he and Rich Franklin actually,” Belfort told SPORTV.com in an interview translated by Fighters Only.
Who would be the perfect opponent for Belfort when he returns to the cage? Maybe another injured middleweight who was on the cusp of the title shot earlier this year?
“I guess Wanderlei will be able to fight in October but I only want that my next bout that accredits me to dispute the belt. I don’t know, maybe Michael Bisping. I was only defeated once recently, by Anderson Silva, and all my wins were very convincing.
“I think I deserve this chance for my legacy. Some fighters are like: ‘Ah, the guy who has the belt is my friend, I don’t want [to fight] him’ - well, I want it,” Belfort said.
Belfort is 35-years-old and fought for the title in February 2011 at UFC 126 and lost by what is now the most famous front kick knockout in MMA. Belfort's loss to Silva has been followed by two straight wins over Yoshihiro Akiyama (knockout victory at UFC 133) and a win over Anthony Johnson (submission victory at UFC 142).
Bisping was originally set to face Tim Boetsch at UFC 149 before an injury took him out of the fight. Bisping is coming off of a loss to Chael Sonnen in a close decision at UFC on FOX 2.