Newly middleweight Vitor Belfort is the man who many think will be next in line for UFC Middleweight Champion Anderson Silva, assuming that the UFC does not grant Chael Sonnen an immediate rematch or make the decision to finally give middleweight dark horse Yushin Okami a title shot.
Though Belfort has yet to compete in the UFC’s middleweight division, he does hold a first round knockout victory over former middleweight champion Rich Franklin in a bout contested at a catchweight of 195 pounds and many MMA fans are clamoring for a Belfort-Silva fight which promises fireworks. Belfort himself recently took to Twitter to plead UFC President Dana White for the opportunity to take on “The Spider.”
“Dana please give me the fight that every one wants to see. This fight will be the fight of the century. Give me Anderson,” wrote Belfort.
Belfort and Silva were scheduled to fight in the main event of April’s UFC 112 card but a shoulder injury forced “The Phenom” out of the fight and off of the card. It has been widely assumed that as long as Belfort heals while Silva still holds the title that he will be first in line to get a crack at his fellow Brazilian. Now, with Sonnen having come within minutes of defeating Silva, the possibility that he will be granted an immediate rematch seems about as likely as the possibility of Belfort getting a title shot. There has been speculation that Sonnen and Belfort could face off in a title eliminator but that prospect is no more than speculation at this point.
Belfort entered into the UFC at the age of 19 and went on a tear, earning three TKO wins before being defeated by the legendary Randy Couture. Belfort would go on to fight in PRIDE, the UFC again, Strikeforce and even the ill-fated Affliction promotion before making his return to the UFC against Franklin at UFC 103 in September of 2009.