UFC President Dana White let it be known yesterday, that Anderson Silva’s future plans have been set and regardless of the outcome of his bout with Chris Weidman on Saturday night, those plans do not include Vitor Belfort. To contrary, should Silva lose his belt this weekend he will be given an immediate re-match with “The All-American”. However, if “The Spider” retains his belt he’ll be seeking a super-fight with Jon Jones.
Of a re-match between Silva and Belfort, White stated:
"The hard position that Vitor is in is when you talk about a rematch for him, it's like, he (Silva) kicked him in the face in the first 60 seconds in one of the most devastating knockouts of all-time…So when you go back to Anderson Silva, who's in the twilight of his career, and you say to a guy like Anderson, what about Vitor?' He'd say, 'I annihilated Vitor. I made it look like Vitor isn't even a fighter we should have been fighting.”
For good reason White’s comments have upset Belfort and to be fair, Belfort has a point.
Since losing to Silva (in February 2011) "The Phenom" has been on an absolute tear. He’s racked up 4 straight stoppage victories within the 185 pound division and has demonstrated himself to be an all but unstoppable force in process.
Beyond his 4 fight winning streak, VB has certified himself to be a company man.
In September of last year and on short-notice (3 weeks) and when no one in the light-heavyweight division would accept a fight with the 205 champion, Belfort stepped-up and volunteered for the role of sacrificial lamb and took the bout. In doing so, VB (with a broken hand going into the match) came closer than any previous fighter in nearly defeating Jones.
In short, Belfort feels that he has “proven” himself “over and over” and that he has earned the title shot.
As he stated to “MMA Junkie”: "It seems that Anderson wants to go on and do super-fights or whatever, but how can he think of doing a super-fight right now when he has a contender of my caliber waiting to compete for the belt? I have no problem with super-fights, as long as they don't tie up the belt from other great contenders who deserve a chance to accomplish the greatest moments of their career. But nobody should be able to strip me of the dreams that God gave me and that I have worked so hard to achieve.”
In Belfort’s defense, a correction of the record and as a criticism of White’s position, it should be noted that Victor’s fight with Silva lasted more than 60 seconds (the head kick came at the 3:20 mark) and that other fighters, Bigfoot Silva as one example, have earned re-matches based on far less Octagon achievement.
Personally, I fail to see how Belfort could be denied a title shot. He has earned it. He has more than earned it. He has certainly earned it more than Sonnen did a shot at Jones or even in regard to his re-match with Silva. JDS would be another example. After his trashing at the hands of Cain Velasquez, he has earned a re-match based off of 1 win (Mark Hunt).
On the issue of Silva / Belfort 2, White should set aside his “Alice in Wonderland” logic in favor of MMA pragmatism, which is, if you earn it you get it. Sadly, that seems to sound more like Bjorn Rebney than Dana White these days.