UFC Fight Night 32: 3 Fights for Vitor Belfort to Take Next

Dan HiergesellFeatured ColumnistNovember 10, 2013

DELRAY BEACH, FL - SEPTEMBER 17:  Vitor Belfort conducts a workout at the Jaco Hybrid Training Center on September 17, 2012 in Delray Beach, Florida. Belfort will fight Jon Jones on September 22, 2012 at UFC 152 in Toronto, Canada.  (Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images)
Chris Trotman/Getty Images

"Spectacular" is an understatement when discussing Vitor Belfort's current destruction of top-level UFC talent.

From brutally welcoming Luke Rockhold to the middleweight division to handing the legendary Dan Henderson his first career knockout Saturday night in Brazil, "The Phenom" is arguably better than ever.

However, while his torrid pace as of late garners immediate title consideration, the ginormous speculation surrounding his well-known use of TRT suggests that more than just talent might be fueling his revived career.

But until speculation becomes fact, nothing can stop Belfort.  Title shot or not, here are three fights he should entertain next after dismantling the formidable "Hendo."


Ronaldo Souza

As hot as Belfort has been, Souza has been just as hot.  Granted, not many of his recent wins have come against elite UFC competition, but the Brazilian has been so dominant that it doesn't matter.

Sep 4, 2013; Belo Horizonte, BRAZIL;  Yushin Okami (red shorts) fights against Ronaldo Jacare Souza during UFC Fight Night at Mineirinho Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports
Jason Silva-USA TODAY Sports

When you look at this matchup, it makes sense for one lone reason: Both guys need a win against a Top Five divisional threat.

Not to take anything away from Belfort's destructive reign of late, but Michael Bisping, Luke Rockhold and Henderson aren't Chris Weidman, Anderson Silva or Lyoto Machida.  They just aren't on the same level.

That means that a victory over a guy like "Jacare" would solidify the 36-year-old as the division's next chosen one. 

It would also serve as an opportunity for the UFC to showcase Souza to fans who may not be familiar with his overall work.


Winner of Lyoto Machida vs. Gegard Mousasi

As new to the division as Machida is and as overlooked as Mousasi is, fighting either one of them would push Belfort toward a title shot.

Feb 23, 2013; Anaheim, CA, USA; Lyoto Machida during his fight against Dan Henderson (not pictured) in their UFC heavyweight bout at the Honda Center. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports
Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Mousasi would probably be the smarter fight, but considering how appeasing a middleweight war with Machida would be for the fans, Belfort should entertain the idea.

It's difficult to pinpoint who would have the upper hand.  Belfort is so brutally offensive, and Machida is a calm and calculated tactician, but it's a tremendous fight nonetheless.

Of course, if this fight were to happen, the UFC would have to shelve Belfort until at least May 2014.  That's a long break for a revitalized aging vet.


Winner of Chris Weidman vs. Anderson Silva

If Belfort is going to get the next middleweight title shot, then let the party begin.

Ever since Silva landed that infamous front heel kick to the face of The Phenom back in 2011, fans have been awaiting the rematch.  They want to see two of Brazil's most decorated fighters of all time once again lock horns.

Jul 6, 2013; Las Vegas, NV, USA;  Chris Weidman during the post fight press conference at the MGM Grand Garden Arena. Weidman defeated Anderson Silva for the Middleweight Chamionship in a TKO in the second round. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TO
Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Spor

But as satisfying as it would be to see Belfort's newly discovered rage test the precision and greatness of Silva, there's one tiny little problem: Weidman has the belt.

Now I'm sure Belfort doesn't mind fighting a wrestler from New York compared to a fellow Brazilian as long as he's getting a chance to hoist UFC gold, but it isn't up to him.

At this point, it's up to Dana White and Joe Silva to decide if Belfort's three-fight win streak is good enough to beat out guys like Souza, Machida and Mousasi.

And who's to say the UFC doesn't give Weidman a rematch with Silva if the former champ reclaims his throne?  Who wouldn't want to see that trilogy?

Either way, Belfort deserves ultimate recognition, and a future title shot against December's victor wouldn't surprise anyone.


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