Vitor Belfort could still compete at UFC 184. | Photo: Dave Mandel/Sherdog.com
Ultimate Fighting Championship has been scrambling to find someone to fight Vitor Belfort at UFC 184 next month, but apparently “The Phenom” is being picky.
The pay-per-view event on Feb. 28 was supposed to feature a middleweight title fight between Belfort and Chris Weidman at Staples Center in Los Angeles, but champion Weidman was forced to withdraw with a rib injury.
According to UFC President Dana White -- who just yesterday said Belfort is not necessarily off the card -- the first person he called was another Brazilian, Lyoto Machida. While the matchup does make sense, Belfort was not interested.
“Vitor is the No. 1 contender right now,” White said during the UFC 183 post-fight press conference. “It’s typical Vitor. Vitor is blowing me up on the phone saying he wants an interim title fight. So I literally picked up the phone and called Lyoto Machida. The first thing Lyoto said is, ‘Send me the bout agreement,’ so I called Vitor back and they said, ‘Yeah, we’ll wait for the Weidman fight.’”
Belfort has not been in action since November 2013, when he finished Dan Henderson at UFC Fight Night “Belfort vs. Henderson” and won his third straight fight. Since then, the UFC has tried to make Weidman versus Belfort happen, but multiple obstacles have gotten in the way.
While the Belfort-Machida matchup is off the table, White wasn’t ready to settle upon Ronda Rousey against Cat Zingano as the main event, going as far as to say that he has one more trick up his sleeve in the hope of getting the 37-year-old Belfort inside the Octagon.
“There’s actually one more fight I’m offering Vitor,” White said. “We’ll see what happens.”