Having achieved back to back knockout victories over UFC middleweights Michael Bisping and Luke Rockhold, Vitor Belfort believes he is the number one contender for the UFC Middleweight Championship. Belfort has passionately campaigned for a title shot against the winner of Silva vs Weidman II. However, recent comments by UFC President Dana White may not make Belfort very happy about his potential standing in the middleweight division.
According to MMAfighting.com, White said that the result of Belfort’s fight with Dan Henderson will definitely affect his ranking in the middleweight division.
“If [Belfort] loses to Dan Henderson, could he still fight for the title? No, I don’t think so.”
This puts a lot of pressure on the thirty-six year old Brazilian. He lost a unanimous decision to Hendo back in 2006 under the banner of the now defunct Pride Fighting Championships. Losing again will be a major setback in his career. However, Belfort isn’t the only one with high stakes going into this fight.
Henderson is currently riding a two-fight losing streak, compiling back to back split decision losses against Lyoto Machida and Rashad Evans. The forty-three year old former Olympian has never lost three fights in a row, and he certainly doesn’t want to lose to a guy he’s already beaten before.
“Vitor’s got to win the fight. This isn’t one of those fights where he’s moving up to light heavyweight to fight Jon Jones. He’s fighting another 185-pounder. They just decided not to cut weight, to fight at 205.”
Henderson has been fighting at light heavyweight since 2010, so White’s logic is very questionable.
Whether you agree or disagree with White’s outlook, in the end, he’s the one who calls the shots. Belfort will just have to bring his A-game on Saturday if he hopes to fight the winner of Silva vs. Weidman II.