Depending on who you ask, Vitor Belfort is either an elite member of the MMA world or a fictitious creature fabricated by the UFC's marketing department. There is a big gap in the middle, which is where many of us find ourselves.
Regardless of which side of the fence you are on, Belfort nearly dethroned Jon Jones on Saturday night with a lightning-fast armbar that left the champion in agony. The move was fully executed, and Jones admitted that he was unwilling to tap out, but expected his arm to break.
Ultimately, Belfort came up short after Jones was able to escape the hold, but he earned the respect of the world and proved his many doubters to be a little foolish.
Even after an admirable performance, we still have some questions about The Phenom.
Despite nearly finishing the fight with an armbar, the best position for Belfort was standing in front of the champion and attempting to score a signature shot. His hand speed and powerful strikes would come in handy after Jones' injured right arm was less able to defend the power hand of his southpaw opponent.
Throughout the contest, when in clinching situations, the Brazilian would pull guard and try to work from his back. It's clear that he wanted to search for another opportunity on "Bones" and his injured appendage, but after a few failed attempts, it was strange to see him continue pulling guard.
On Saturday, Belfort did better against Jones than any other before him, and did so on less than 30 days notice. Is light-heavyweight the best place for The Phenom?
Ultimately, a 195-pound division would be optimal for stars like Belfort, Rashad Evans, Rich Franklin and Chael Sonnen. Unfortunately, it's not likely that the UFC will introduce any new divisions in the near future.
Anderson Silva faces Stephan Bonnar at UFC 153 and is hoping for a super-fight with Georges St-Pierre sometime in 2013. If I were a betting man, I'd suggest that the 37-year-old Silva is winding down his career and looking for one enormous win before heading off into retirement.
If Silva retires as champion, Belfort could rule over the weakened middleweight division for some time.
Depending on which division you look at, Belfort is a man with options.
If he goes back down to middleweight, Michael Bisping should be ready to go by January at the latest. Bisping needs a win over a legitimate member of the upper echelon if he is to get his long-desired title shot, and Belfort fits the bill to a T.
If he chooses to stick around at light heavyweight, the options are interesting. I'd love to see a bout with Forrest Griffin, but the Ultimate Fighter winner is currently booked for a bout with Chael Sonnen. I would settle for a fight against the winner of Alexander Gustafsson vs. Shogun Rua or a returning Ryan Bader.
Perhaps a fight with Wanderlei Silva is in the cards at a weight class to be determined. Both men have fluctuated between divisions for some time now.