During an interview with Ariel Helwani for MMAFighting.com at the UFC on Fox 8 weigh-ins, Dana White stated that a bout between middleweights Vitor Belfort and Tim Kennedy was currently being sought by the UFC.
"Lorenzo just talked to (Belfort's) wife yesterday. We're talking about doing Vitor Belfort vs. Tim Kennedy."
According to White, the bout is being set for Brazil. Dana denied any interest in hiding Belfort in Brazil amidst concerns over PED or TRT use, saying that Belfort simply does well when placed in shows within his home country.
Helwani spoke on behalf of the Brazilian contender, saying Belfort may feel he should get a shot at the 185-pound belt. White was adamant in defending the organization's decision to grant Silva an immediate rematch.
"Is there anyone on this (expletive) planet that doesn't agree with the Chris Weidman/Anderson Silva match?" White then went on to say, "He's going to have to get over it. He's out of his mind if he thinks that he should have got a fight in there before those two."
Despite being passed over for a title shot, a bout between Belfort and Kennedy does seem like another step backward for the former heavyweight champion. The choice to place Kennedy in the cage with Belfort may simply be due more to circumstance than anything else.
Anderson and Weidman are already set for UFC 168. Ronaldo Souza is set to face Yushin Okami. Tim Boetsch is currently slated to face Luke Rockhold, while Mark Munoz is gearing up for Michael Bisping. With all of those matches set, the UFC had few options left for Belfort.
Costa Philippou is the only top-level contender remaining in the middleweight division. Philippou is riding a five-fight win streak, and, on paper, has more potential for excitement than a bout with Kennedy. A slugfest between the Cypriot boxer and Belfort would have been a true stand-up war; however, it appears the UFC may pass on the option.