VITOR BELFORT FEELS HE DESERVES A REMATCH WITH JON JONES OR ANDERSON SILVA
Vitor Belfort (22-10 MMA, 11-6 UFC) wants another shot at light heavyweight champ Jon Jones, but he also thinks he's made a pretty good argument for rematching Anderson Silva.
"I deserve the rematch, so that's the fight I'm looking for," Belfort said. "If not him, I'm looking to get to be a contender of my division. Nobody made a statement with that, and I think the way I beat (Michael) Bisping takes me very close to the contender shot."
Belfort, who spoke to reporters during a media gathering in support of UFC 156, recently denied Bisping another golden opportunity when he earned a second-round TKO this past month at UFC on FX 7. It was the second the British middleweight failed to capitalize on a title eliminator, and because he was cast as the most logical contender prior to the bout, Belfort's victory had all the more impact on the middleweight division.
Now the question is what's next for "The Phenom." Prior to beating Bisping, he lost to Jones at UFC 152, and two years ago, he was viciously knocked out by Silva.
That leaves him somewhat in the lurch. Although he's been linked to a bout with former Strikeforce champ Luke Rockhold, he indicated the fight was far from a done deal.
"I'll accept any fight, but I need to know where this fight is going to take me," Belfort said.
If he has his say, he'd rather go to light-heavyweight. He wants a chance to beat Jones after nearly pulling off the upset of the decade this past September, when he was installed as a contender after multiple opponents turned down the champ. A heavy underdog, he shocked the world when he popped Jone's right elbow with an armbar in the first round of the fight.
Belfort faded in later rounds and submitted in the fourth, but he the believes his near-submission is a much better argument for a rematch than the circumstances that put Chael Sonnen in the No. 1 contender spot.
"I'll be ready, and I have my people negotiating," he said. "But I want Jon Jones. I want his left arm."
The question is whether he'll get it. Belfort blasted Sonnen for getting the opportunity to fight Jones, as he did following his win over Bisping when he screamed at UFC executives to switch them.
Belfort likened the two-time middleweight title contender to a circus clown, saying Sonnen was shamed by Silva when they fought at UFC 148. Sonnen, he implied, had talked his way into the title shot, while he said yes to a fight that was offered.
"People are picking fights," Belfort said. "I don't agree with that. I believe in sport, you earn it."
Ultimately, though, both were given the opportunity by the UFC, who serves as the final voice in matchmaking. That's why Belfort is going to wait to see what the promotion has to say before he campaigns any further. Wherever he goes, he wants the fight to have big implications.
"If I need to pick a fight, I will pick guys that have the title," he said. "People in the division that I can conquer. I'm not scared of anybody."
In his mind, fighters who beat the best opponents should get the best opportunities.
"If I'm in the 185 division, I beat the second guy, I earned that place," Belfort said. "That's how I think, but that's not how it is."
So Belfort plans to enjoy a two-day vacation and not worry about it. His managers will be doing the talking for him in the coming days.