Vitor Belfort's future in MMA may be uncertain at this time, but that isn't particularly worrisome for UFC middleweight champion Chris Weidman. Speaking with MMA Fighting's Ariel Helwani on the July 14, 2014 edition of The MMA Hour (transcribed by MMA Fighting's Chuck Mindenhall), Weidman pointed specifically to The Phenom regarding whom he wants to face next.
"I do want to fight Vitor Belfort. He’s the guy who’s been floating around the top for awhile now," he said. "He's another legend. I've kind of grew to enjoy fighting legends that I got into the sport watching and admiring."
When asked about other potential opponents, the champ questioned the worthiness of high-level middleweights Gegard Mousasi, Ronaldo "Jacare" Souza and Luke Rockhold.
Indeed, on paper, Belfort is the clear-cut top contender at 185 pounds right now. While the division is full of talented fighters, the "MMA Math" aspect of selecting title challengers is very convoluted.
Rockhold is amazingly talented, and he knocked Top 10 fighters Tim Boetsch and Costas Philippou out of the rankings with impressive finishes. Not only that, but he holds wins over fellow potential contenders Ronaldo Souza and Tim Kennedy. However, he was knocked out cold by Vitor Belfort last year with a brutal head kick at UFC on FX 10.
Mousasi, meanwhile, has been highly successful fighting at 205 pounds but dropped down to 185 for a fight with Lyoto Machida. He came out on the wrong end of a relatively lopsided decision. He has since bounced back with an impressive first-round submission win over Mark Munoz.
The trouble with Belfort at this time is his recent drug test failure. There were long questions regarding the former light heavyweight champion's use of the controversial testosterone replacement therapy treatment and even more when the UFC seemingly shielded him from American athletic commissions by having him fight exclusively in Brazil in 2013.
UFC President Dana White tried to alleviate the concerns of fans and media members by saying the UFC was "testing the s--t" out of Belfort and other TRT users at the UFC on Fuel TV 7 post-fight press conference.
However, when rumors swirled over the random drug test Belfort was asked to take by the Nevada State Athletic Commission in February, White desperately downplayed the importance of the test itself to the media at the UFC 173 pre-fight press conference and ensured that the UFC "put him through the ringer" for his TRT use. However, Belfort would reveal that he was, indeed, abusing TRT and had tested positive for elevated levels of testosterone.
It is unknown at this time what manner of punishment Belfort may be facing and if he could have trouble being licensed for his fights.
Ultimately, it is unclear whom Weidman will face next or when he may next enter the Octagon. Stick with Bleacher Report for more details as they become available.