If Vitor Belfort is going to fight Tim Kennedy, as the latter reported would be the case, it’s not going to happen at middleweight. Not according to Belfort’s manager and wife, Joana Prado, at least.
A few heads were turned on Friday when Kennedy tweeted “I’m going to Brazil to fight Vitor”, and then Dana White confirmed to MMA Fighting.com that indeed, the promotion is trying to book the bout. Prado has reportedly told Globo.com, however, that (quote via MMA Junkie.com):
“It doesn’t make sense that Vitor, who is No. 1 in the rankings, should fight against No. 2, No. 6 or No. 10 in his weight class,” Prado said. “His next fight in the middleweight class will be against the winner of Chris Weidman vs. Anderson Silva. If the UFC wishes him to fight in any class above middleweight, we are at their disposal. It can be anyone, Tim Kennedy, even Roy Nelson, but it has to be at 205 pounds or heavyweight – he’ll even fight as a heavyweight. Vitor wants to fight, but in his weight class, only if for the belt.”
Really, none of this should be a surprise, considering how long and hard Belfort campaigned for a bout with the winner of Silva-Weidman. Now that Weidman-Silva II is a go, fighters like Gegard Mousasi and Costa Philippou saw an opportunity to fight Belfort, but the #2 ranked middleweight doesn’t have much to gain by fighting a lower ranked fighter at this juncture.
That said, if Belfort waits on the sidelines for a title shot, a year could go by between fights (he blasted Luke Rockhold at UFC on FX 8 in May). The one fly in the strategic ointment regarding the scenario outlined above, however, is what if Belfort fights at 205 and loses badly? And meanwhile another middleweight contender scores an impressive win? Will the UFC still want to tap him for a title fight?
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