UFC 187 is set to go down on May 23, 2015 and Vitor “The Phenom” Belfort will finally get his long-awaited title shot against Chris Weidman, a fight that has been scheduled three times already. So how did “The Phenom” earn this shot?
An ultra-impressive 2013 in which Belfort earned three-straight head kick knockouts over Michael Bisping, Luke Rockhold, and Dan Henderson did just the trick. However, these wins have a dark cloud looming over them, the fact that the Brazilian was using testosterone-replacement-therapy (TRT) which was widely considered to be a legal performing enhancing drug (PED).
TRT has now been banned since 2013 and according to Blackzilian’s head coach Henri Hooft, it may have affected Belfort’s ripped up physique:
“Well, of course I’m not a doctor,” Hooft told Submission Radio. “I don’t know about what his physique in the fight will be but he looks great. Maybe he looked a little bit stronger when he used the TRT or whatever he used.
Belfort, who is known for his super-human strength and explosivesness, may have lost some strength according to his coach. However, Hooft doesn’t believe that will play a factor against Weidman, as he claims that “The Phenom” is naturally strong, and always has been:
“He looked a little bit stronger, but looking stronger and being stronger is a difference. It’s not about looking bigger and stronger. He is just amazingly physically strong. He was already when he was younger, you know? He was already strong. So he’s going to be okay, he’s going to be fine. He’s technically so good that he has so much experience – again, and compared to Chris Weidman Vitor Belfort is never gonna be small. He fought at heavyweight so he’s never going to small.”
Competing since the age of 19, Belfort has a wealth of experience, more than your average fighter. He is a former champion, and has fought the best of the best. Hooft believes that his growing age is what has caused the slight loss of muscle and possibly explosiveness, but that doesn’t worry him. The head coach believes “The Phenom” has a good chance to become the new middleweight champion:
“At 37, your body’s changing a little bit, but again technically and power-wise he’s one of the best in the world. He’s going to be the best and in his weight class he has a very good chance of beating Chris Weidman.”
Who do you see wearing middleweight gold come May?