There are a couple things we know for sure following UFC Fight Night 32. First, Vitor Belfort is the first man to knock out Dan Henderson. Second, he's the first UFC fighter to end three consecutive fights with devastatingly brutal head kicks. What those two things mean for the future of Belfort, well, that's where things get a little murky.
At the post-fight press conference, UFC president Dana White awarded Belfort a $50,000 bonus by saying "Knockout of the Night, holy s- - t Vitor Belfort.' White then went on to heap praise on Belfort, "Big things for Vitor Belfort. Big night. He did something that nobody has ever done in 39 fights, he stopped Dan Henderson. Vitor is a completely different fighter than he was when he was younger. He's mentally there. He's physically there. He's more well rounded than he's ever been. Yeah, I'm blown away by tonight's performance, and we'll see what's next."
Many would say that what's next for Belfort should be a title fight against the winner of the Chris Weidman versus Anderson Silva rematch. That fight will take place on December 28 as the main event of UFC 168.
White was non-committal when first asked about a possible title fight for Belfort, saying, "Obviously, some big fights have to happen. You've got the Anderson Silva (versus) Chris Weidman rematch, but yeah, Vitor Belfort's next, or I don't know. I mean, Weidman, Silva, Machida, there's a lot of big fights out there for Vitor Belfort."
When pressed a bit, White told the assembled media why he would not 100 percent lock down a title shot for Belfort, "I'm saying that because you never know what happens here. That Weidman versus Silva fight, somebody gets hurt, and their sidelined, you just never know what's going to happen. The 185-pound division is exciting, it's really getting good, and anything can happen, but there's nothing but big fights for Vitor Belfort."
Belfort said that he would be ready to fight for the title if the UFC gives him the call to do so. He also made it clear that if he had his choice he would be fighting the winner of UFC 168's main event.
A little later in the press conference, White got a little closer to setting Belfort's title shot in stone, but he did not fully commit. After saying that he expects the Weidman versus Silva rematch to be the biggest fight the UFC has ever done, White said, "Whoever wins (that fight), yes, will fight Vitor Belfort unless something crazy happens and somebody gets hurt."
So there you have it, Belfort gets the next middleweight title shot barring "something crazy" or an injury. In a sport where something crazy happening seems to be the norm, my advice would be, don't start making plans for a Belfort title fight until a contract is signed.
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- Rocky Martinez vs Mikey Garcia results and gifs: Garcia scores body shot KO in 8 rounds
- UFC Fight Night 32: Vitor Belfort vs. Dan Henderson full fight highlight video online
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- UFC Fight Night 32 post-fight awards: Belfort, Akhmedov, Perpetuo, and Martins win $50,000 bonuses
- UFC Fight Night 32 post-fight press conference