It looks like Vitor Belfort is willing to fight Lyoto Machida next after all, well, kind of…
In case you missed it, this weekend UFC President Dana White relayed that Belfort has turned down the opportunity to fight Machida for an interim middleweight title. The proposal was made since the champ Chris Weidman will no longer fight Belfort at UFC 184 this month, due to a rib injury he’s incurred. Weidman was also forced to pull out of a bout with Belfort in December as a result of a hand injury.
Now, according to White, Belfort initially called him about fighting for an interim title, but wasn’t interested in fighting Machida. Well, Belfort has released a statement on Instagram, which presents a very different take on the situation.
Here is what the 37 year-old contender had to say:
About the cancellation of my UFC 184 fight. I would like to say that, as everyone else, I’m very disappointed with all this situation. For exactly one year, I have seen my dream to make history in UFC with my 3rd world title in a different weight category postponed. Here are some facts: – UFC had to reschedule the middleweight world title content 3 times because of my opponent’s injuries. (from May/14 to July/14- Weidman had a knee surgery, from December/14 to February/15 – Weidman had his hand broken, from February/15 to probably May/15- Weidman had his ribs hurt) – MY FOCUS WAS ALWAYS THE MIDDLEWEIGHT BELT AND I CLIMBED THE LADDER TO ACHIEVE MY POSITION. – This is why I won’t fight for an interim, but if UFC gives 8 weeks and the middleweight Belt available for dispute I fight with anyone from the ranking. Not for an Interin, But the Middleweight Belt! – I’ve been in this sport for 19 years and I have never let UFC down. – I accepted to fight for the Light Heavyweight Belt right after the my sister got kidnapped and I still won the world championship. – I offered myself to fight in the UFC 152 against Jon Jones with less than 8 weeks to prepare myself to the bout and I had exactly the same injury my opponent has now and still I stepped up to the fight. I would like to thank UFC, the press and fans support, always. Focused in the Middleweight Belt! #thephenom #rumoaoterceirocinturao #andthenew #otbfight #9inewpp #tomakehistory
So, clearly there’s been some big miscommunication here or things didn’t go down the way it’s been outlined. One thing seems pretty clear, however, since the UFC isn’t going to strip Weidman of the belt, the chances of Belfort fighting at UFC 184 on February 28th, are rather slim. White also said this weekend that he had one more proposal for Belfort, in terms of an opponent.
“The Phenom” hasn’t fought now since November, 2013, when he took out Dan Henderson for his third straight victory. Weidman, on the other hand, hasn’t fought since July when he decisioned Machida at UFC 175.