Luke Rockhold’s impressive victory over Chris Weidman at UFC 194 rekindled the title hopes of Vitor Belfort. Immediately after winning the UFC middleweight title, Rockhold told media that he would like “Belfort on a silver platter” in his first defense.
After some trash talk between the former opponents, however, UFC President Dana White announced that Rockhold and Weidman will have an immediate rematch, putting Belfort’s dream once again on the back burner.
Sherdog.com on Monday visited FortFit, Belfort’s academy in Rio de Janeiro, and spoke with Jose Marcos Belfort, father of the UFC middleweight, who had just returned from a month at his son’s home in Florida. Mr. Belfort admitted that Weidman deserves a chance to reclaim the title, but he claimed that a rematch between Rockhold and “The Phenom” would be more profitable for the promotion.
“I believe Weidman deserves a rematch for everything he has done in the last few years, but the fight that would attract the fans’ attention is Belfort versus Rockhold, since Vitor was the only one to knock out the new champion” said Mr. Belfort. “But the ones who decide that are the Fertitta brothers and Dana White. Vitor is an employee of the UFC; he’ll be ready for anyone they choose.”
Asked to choose another opponent in the event that UFC confirms the Rockhold-Weidman rematch, Mr. Belfort had no doubt.
“I think a fight against Yoel Romero would be great,” he said. “No doubt it could be a dangerous fight for Vitor, but I would love to see that clash of styles.”
Mr. Belfort said that during his time in Florida, he took his three grandsons to train at the new American Top Team facility in Coconut Creek.
“The house where they live is very close to the new ATT. That’s why Joana [Prado] and Vitor decided to enroll the kids,” Mr. Belfort explained. “I was really impressed with their new structure, not only physically, but also the professionalism. There were three instructors for a class of 25 kids.”
Mr. Belfort made clear that his son, who recently left ATT rivals the Blackzilians, is not planning to train at ATT with former Carlson Gracie teammates Ricardo Liborio and Marcus Silveira.
“I’m his father, but I have nothing to do with his training and the professional part. He has Joana taking care of him, and also a very good structure in OTB,” said Mr. Belfort, referencing Vitor’s new team. “They enrolled the kids at ATT because the facilities are excellent and very close to the house. It’s nothing to do with Vitor’s professional career.
“As you know, since his last fight, Vitor is doing his whole camp with OTB, with our own structure. As soon as his next opponent is decided, I’m sure Joana will take care of his future camp with OTB.”
Mr. Belfort also spoke about the rumored matchup between Vitor and Anderson Silva, which was being eyed as the main event of UFC’s next card in Brazil.
“As I said, I’m Vitor’s father, so I’m not authorized to say why it didn’t happen,” Mr. Belfort said. “But, as a fan, I’m sure that would be a fight to pack Maracana Stadium. UFC should pay both fighters well and also give them a good share of pay-per-view sales. UFC needs to learn to share more with their athletes, since they are the ones who make the show. It would be amazing to see that fight in those conditions, with a great financial advantage for both fighters, in Maracana Stadium.”