During what’s been a relatively quiet and fight-less period, the UFC has continued to rattle off fight announcements for its upcoming cards.
This time, it’s a big one.
The promotion on Saturday confirmed a long-held suspicion that top middleweight contenders Michael “The Count” Bisping and Vitor “The Phenom” Belfort would face off on a to-be-announced card next year.
The fight makes sense for a number of reasons. One, it’s a matchup that both men have publically asked for. Two, its expected to be held in Brazil, where Belfort is a hero and Bisping will perfectly play the invader.
Bisping is desperately seeking upper-echelon legitimacy in the middleweight division and Belfort is a good place to start. Sure, Bisping would love a title shot against Anderson Silva, but the Brazilian champ insists that this scenario isn’t happening, citing that his “contenders” have yet to fully prove themselves.
So, to bide time, make them prove it. Try to set up the oft-mentioned megafight between Silva and Georges St. Pierre and let Bisping/Belfort bout eliminate a contender. Then match the winner of that fight up with whoever comes out on top of the Tim Boetsch/ Chris Weidman tilt.
This way you’ve given Silva plenty of time to make a fight materialize with St. Pierre, and you’re not giving him an excuse to avoid middleweight title fights because the names aren’t big enough for him. With two more wins, Weidman will be a fearsome household name, and Bisping will be on the cusp of full-on legitimacy.
All of that, of course, could be derailed if we find ourselves looking at a Tim Boetsch/Vitor Belfort number-one contender fight. Belfort performed admirably against light heavyweight champ Jon Jones, and he could very well steamroll his next few opponents, but few fans will be clamoring for him to receive a title shot. His last one ended in him receiving a front kick to the face.