Vitor Belfort earned his second shot at the Ultimate Fighting Championship’s middleweight title with his 77-second destruction of Dan Henderson at UFC Fight Night 32, his third straight electrifying finish inside the Octagon.
Belfort (24-10-0, 17 KOs) will now get to fight the winner of the Anderson Silva and Chris Weidman rematch set for Dec. 28 at UFC 168.
Vitor’s impressive performances against Michael Bisping, Luke Rockhold, and Henderson turned him into one of the biggest MMA stars in Brazil, so it’s not that surprising “The Phenom” would like to capitalize on his popularity by fighting for the Ultimate Fighting Championship’s middleweight title in Brazil.
Belfort is convinced he’ll headline the first UFC fight card held at a Brazilian soccer stadium, a goal the Ultimate Fighting Championship’s president, Dana White, often talks about.
“This fight will be in a soccer stadium,” Belfort told MMAFighting.com. “Whoever wins, I’m sure we can sell out Maracana or any other soccer stadium in Brazil. It would be really interesting. … I know the UFC will come up with the best idea. They are really focused in Brazil right now. Globo is offering great fights for the Brazilians. I just want to enjoy my training. I will train focused on both [Weidman and Silva], and focused on working my abilities.”
It’s hard to disagree with Belfort’s assessment that he’d be able to sell out any major soccer stadium in Brazil matched up against Silva or Weidman. Brazilian fans are some of the most passionate MMA enthusiasts in the world, and they’d likely come out in droves to support two of their nation’s favorite mixed martial artists if Silva emerges victorious at UFC 168.
Weidman isn’t anywhere as popular as either man in Brazil, but that doesn’t make him any less marketable. Brazilian MMA fans love their homegrown heroes, so the U.S. vs. Brazil angle — coupled with Vitor’s popularity — makes it a rather easy sell.
Not sure it would be fair to send Weidman into hostile territory for his second title defense though.
Of course, some would say Belfort only wants to fight in Brazil because it makes things easier as far as getting a therapeutic use exemption (TUE) for testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) is concerned.