Vitor Belfort UFC 126 Aftermath: What Next For "The Phenom?"

Liam WardContributor IFebruary 7, 2011

Vitor Belfort UFC 126 Aftermath: What Next For "The Phenom?"

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    After months of hype and buildup, Vitor Belfort was effortlessly knocked out by pound-for-pound king, Anderson "The Spider" Silva.

    This is not to say that he is finished, and I think there are a lot of fighters that Belfort could still beat at 185 lbs.

    I now present to you, the top 10 opponents for "The Phenom."

Alan Belcher

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    Last fight: Patrick Cote, UFC 113 (win via Round 2 submission)

    Next fight: N/A


    Belcher's last fight was way back at UFC 113, against Patrick Cote. Since then, he has been sidelined by eye surgery, after losing vision in his right eye.

    Recently, Belcher has started training again and hopes to make a return to the Octagon around summer.

    This is definitely a fight that Vitor can win and would be a good comeback fight for him, since Alan is a stand-up fighter himself.

Maiquel Falcao

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    Last fight: Gerald Harris, UFC 123 (unanimous dec. victory)

    Next fight: N/A


    I really don't know what to make of Falcao's UFC debut against Gerald Harris.

    Despite an impressive start against his opponent, he seemed to be content to just coast to a decision in the third round.

    Although set to fight Alessio Sakara, Falcao pulled out due to an undisclosed injury.

    Despite having some impressive striking, I think that Belfort could absolutely blast this guy. In my opinion, this would be a good "tune-up" fight for Belfort.

Chris Leben

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    Last fight: Brian Stann, UFC 125 (loss via Round 1 TKO)

    Next fight: N/A


    This fight definitely makes sense due to the fact that both these fighters are coming off big knockout losses.

    In my opinion, this would also be a good "tune-up" fight for Belfort.

    Chris Leben is notorious for his reckless, brawling style of fighting, which I believe would play right into Vitor's hands.

Brian Stann

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    Last fight: Chris Leben, UFC 125 (win via Round 1 TKO)

    Next fight: Wanderlei Silva, UFC 130


    Brian Stann is coming of an awesome technical knockout victory over the granite-jawed Chris "The Crippler" Leben.

    With the win, he has put himself in position to fight Wanderlei Silva, at UFC 130.

    A win for Stann could propel him into the top 10 rankings for the 185 lb division.

    If this becomes the case, then Belfort could do battle with Stann, in order to prove that he still belongs in the upper echelons of the middleweight division.

Wanderlei Silva

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    Last fight: Michael Bisping, UFC 110 (unanimous dec. victory)

    Next Fight: Brian Stann, UFC 130


    Many of you will be wondering why Wanderlei is even on this list. He has already been finished by Belfort in under a minute, so what good would a rematch be?

    Firstly, that fight was a very long time ago, and I'm sure some of you might find this to be an intriguing matchup.

    Especially if Silva gets past Stann, perhaps we might see this fight prominently featured on the UFC: Rio card in Brazil.

Michael Bisping

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    Last fight: Yoshihiro Akiyama, UFC 120 (unanimous dec. victory)

    Next fight: Jorge Rivera, UFC 127


    After his dominating victory over Yoshihiro Akiyama, many people consider Michael Bisping a top 10 middleweight in MMA once again.

    If he gets past the dangerous veteran, Jorge Rivera, then Belfort could be Bisping's next step up the ladder to title contention (or not, depending on how you look at it).

Chael Sonnen

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    Last fight: Anderson Silva, UFC 117 (loss via Round 5 submission)

    Next fight: N/A


    Things have gotten worse and worse since Chael Sonnen's loss to Anderson Silva in their 2010 encounter.

    After testing positive for elevated levels of testosterone, Sonnen is now in a spot of bother, after pleading guilty to money laundering. 

    The fight itself makes sense, due to the fact that both men have lost to Silva in their most recent fights, but the likelihood of the fight happening is very slim.

Yushin Okami

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    Last fight: Nate Marquardt, UFC 122 (unanimous dec. victory)

    Next fight: N/A


    Although the No. 1 contender at 185 lbs, Yushin Okami seems to be stuck in limbo for now.

    This is due to the fact that an Anderson Silva vs. GSP fight seems tantalizingly close, which leaves Okami without a match.

    Interestingly, this fight was originally slated for UFC 122, to determine the No. 1 contender for Silva's title, although matchmakers had other plans with Belfort.

    However, it's hard to imagine Okami risking his No.1 contender spot to Vitor, since he is coming off of a loss.

Nate Marquardt

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    Last fight: Yushin Okami, UFC 122 (unanimous dec. loss)

    Next fight: Yoshihiro Akiyama, UFC 128


    It seems that every time Nate Marquardt gets close to the title, he is destined to fall and work his way back up again. This was evident in his fights against Anderson Silva, Chael Sonnen and Yushin Okami.

    However, I believe that this is simply due to the high level of opposition that he has faced.

    A fight with Belfort seems possible if he beats the always tough, "Sexiyama." Furthermore, a win for Belfort could reiterate his status as a top five middleweight.

Demian Maia

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    Last fight: TUF 12 Finale, Kendall Grove (unanimous dec. victory)

    Next Fight: N/A

     

    Demian Maia is coming off of a solid decision win gainst TUF 2 winner, Kendall "Da Spyder" Grove. He dominated Grove on the ground, and also showed some improved striking.

    However, I think that Maia could have trouble getting Vitor to the ground, which means that Belfort can definitely take this fight on the feet, without a doubt.

    Demian Maia also happens to be one of the only top middleweights in the UFC without a particular opponent, so a fight with Belfort could seem pretty likely for the near-future.