The fight between Anderson Silva and Chael Sonnen sparked a debate in Mixed Martial Arts community around who should be Silva's next opponent in the UFC Middleweight division. Chael Sonnen backed up his every single word (except the McDojo comments) in this fight, giving Anderson Silva his toughest test since the fight against Dan Henderson at UFC 82.
But despite Chael Sonnen's heroic performance, it looks like the voices about awarding Vitor Belfort a title shot are growing stronger. Before we get to the point, I would like to clarify that I'm a huge "Phenom" fan, but there's just too many facts that bother me when it comes to giving him a title shot against Silva:
*Belfort did not beat anyone in the UFC Middleweight division
*His only fight in the modern-era UFC was against Rich Franklin at UFC 103
*UFC 103 took place on September 19th, 2009
*Belfort's last fight as a Middleweight was against Matt Lindland at Affliction: Day of Reckoning, on January 24th 2009.
Now let's assume Anderson Silva will return on February 2011, and face Vitor Belfort. It will be more than two years since Belfort's last fight as a Middleweight (!) and eighteen months since his last fight in the UFC. Sorry, but you can't get a title shot after not fighting for over a year in your promotion, and over two years in your weight class.
If Chael Sonnen is not about to get an immediate rematch against Anderson Silva in February or March, Vitor Belfort should fight Yushin Okami, who due to his quiet personality somehow stays out of the title shot debate. Okami is 9-3 in the UFC, as a fight between and Vitor Belfort will truly determine who deserves a shot at Anderson Silva's Middleweight title. It's a great opportunity for Belfort to shake off his ring rust and prove his worth against a top class well-rounded Mixed Martial Artist.
There's no doubt about Vitor Belfort being on paper more than a worthy opponent for Anderson Silva. The speed of his hands is second to none, and can cause troubles to any opponent in any weight class. But then again, you have to fight in your weight class at least once to get a title shot. There are so much better options than this, for Sonnen, Okami, Belfort, Silva and the MMA fans around the World.