Vitor Belfort may have returned to the UFC middleweight division, but “The Phenom” believes he still has unfinished business at light heavyweight.
Following his superb second-round knockout of Michael Bisping in the UFC on FX 7 main event Saturday night, the veteran called out 205-pound champ Jon Jones, who is currently slated to square off with fellow “Ultimate Fighter 17” coach Chael Sonnen at UFC 159.
“[Sonnen] is a clown. Get out of the way. [You] just got knocked out pretty badly by Anderson Silva, and then you fight Jon Jones? You don’t deserve it,” Belfort told Fox Sports following his win at Geraldo Jose de Almeida State Gymnasium in Sao Paulo, Brazil. “You did the reality show. I know you’re a good athlete, but you need to go the back of the line and let me fight the champion in a rematch. Go home.”
Despite Belfort’s request, it appears unlikely that the 35-year-old would be granted another shot against Jones after his recent defeat to the champion at UFC 152 -- a fight which Belfort took on short notice after UFC 151 was canceled.
More likely for Belfort is a continued stay at 185 pounds, where he has gone 4-1 since first making the cut to middleweight in 2009. The Phenom put forth another fine performance on Saturday night, though Belfort did look tentative in the opening round by his traditionally aggressive standards.
The southpaw found himself on the end of Bisping’s jab for most of the first stanza, until he caught “The Count” with a well-timed head kick that put Bisping on wobbly legs. Belfort pounced and looked to capitalize, but Bisping’s defense proved stout as the round came to a close.
The second frame quite resembled the first, though Belfort’s head kick would this time leave no doubt as to the outcome of the contest. The Brazilian’s shin connected flush alongside Bisping’s ear, causing the Brit’s knees to buckle and sending him reeling to the mat, where Belfort eagerly pursued and ended the bout with flurry of hammer-fists.
The victory granted Belfort his 22nd career victory and his 11th win inside the Octagon. The Brazilian, who made his pro debut in 1996, credits his faith with giving him the resolve to seek out new obstacles as a mixed martial artist, even as he nears his second decade of competition.
“It’s amazing. I thank God every day for the life I have and the opportunity. I thank you, Jesus, for giving me the strength to do this for 17 years,” said Belfort. “I think I’m the only guy from my era who is still doing this on a great scale, so now I’m looking for bigger challenges.”