Chris Weidman retained his UFC middleweight title with a shocking and gruesome victory over Anderson Silva at UFC 168 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena.
Fox Sports' Damon Martin broke the news:
Chris Weidman will move onto face Vitor Belfort next and gotta believe that fight will take place in the U.S., not in Brazil #UFC168— Damon Martin (@DamonMartin) December 29, 2013
Belfort himself laid down the challenge at the UFC 168 presser:
Mike Chiappetta of Fox Sports captured another quote from the title-hungry Belfort:
Vitor Belfort throws down the gauntlet: "What I want is in the hands of the guy named Chris Weidman. It belongs to me.” #UFC168— Mike Chiappetta MMA (@MikeChiappetta) December 29, 2013
I don't care who will win on Saturday, because whoever wins will already be preparing to lose.That belt belongs to me.
I conquered my space. I wanted the opportunity to fight for the belt, and here I am. The one thing the fans wanted to see is me getting the title shot. Now I am more than ready to be a world champion in another division.
Weidman has undoubtedly had an impressive year, especially with two wins over Silva, who had won 16 straight fights before losing his belt. But one has to wonder if Weidman will get his due after this controversial ending.
One thing is for sure—nobody is questioning the monster run Belfort has put together as of late. Belfort owns knockouts over Michael Bisping, Luke Rockhold and Dan Henderson—no small feat considering Henderson had never been knocked out via strikes.
A "Phenom" indeed, Belfort certainly packs the punching power and unpredictability needed to bring the "All-American" back down to Earth. It is not as if the division has any other more worthy names at the moment to challenge Weidman, and like it or not, he is the man who has taken down Silva in consecutive fights.
That has to count for something, as does Belfort's career revival. Regardless of the date and locale, a bout between Weidman and Belfort at this point, given their recent successes, is the best move for UFC and its fans.