After Luke Rockhold unexpectedly called out Costa Phillipou, and after Vitor Belfort rather oddly called out both Jon Jones and Chael Sonnen (well kind of), it seems that both fighters will more than likely not be getting what they originally requested and will instead be more than likely – and ironically enough – stepping into the octagon with each other.
And you know what? That actually sounds like a great matchup. Vitor gets a contender that will move him up the rankings toward the Champion that he should have called out, while Rockhold is given the opportunity to fight a solid UFC veteran and prove to the world that he belongs among the Middleweight divisions very best bringing him one step closer to a title shot.
Asked about Belfort’s future since his spectacular finish of Middleweight contender Michael Bisping, Dana White shot straight and to the point:
“Rockhold. That’s what we’re talking about.”
Luke Rockhold is the last remaining Strikeforce Middleweight Champion, holding a record of 10-1. Obtaining the belt via a decision over former champion Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza and then most recently defeating tough Middleweight contender and army ranger Tim Kennedy.
From a realistic perspective, calling out Jones was an odd move. It’s difficult to understand where Vitors head was at especially given how recent the fight took place. Calling out a champion who’s injured, already has a fight, including another #1 contender bout lined up and is in the middle of filming a lucrative reality show. Vitor must have taken a lot of blows to the head in training camp in order for that to make sense.
White always being a realist however, and looking to steer Vitor back on track to the path he should be taking, said:
“If Vitor beats Bisping and he knocks off a couple contenders at 185, it’s hard not to give him a title shot again.”
I would agree with this statement completely, Vitor has shown dominance over his opponents in the Middleweight division and has evolved and adapted to the newer style of hybrid martial arts that the younger fighters are now showcasing in the UFC.
But showing his never ending hunger to learn and implement new techniques, we got to see Vitor finish an elite opponent with a head kick, something we’ve seldom seen in his career. If the Vitor of old decides to return, with the super-quick hands and power, while continuing to learn and implement new techniques, he could very well defeat the champion on his second try. Believe that.