White: Weidman-Belfort next -- in Brazil?

July, 18, 2014
Jul 18
5:01
PM ET
Okamoto By Brett Okamoto
ESPN.com
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The UFC wants its next middleweight title fight to feature Chris Weidman versus Vitor Belfort -- and company brass is not against hosting it in Brazil.

UFC president Dana White said on Friday that the defending champion Weidman (12-0) wants to meet Belfort in his next title defense. The two were originally scheduled to fight at UFC 173 in May, but Belfort (24-10) was ultimately pulled due to licensing issues.

“[Weidman] wants to fight Vitor Belfort,” White said. “We want to make that fight happen. That’s the next fight. It should have already happened. I love this kid calling out Vitor. He’s awesome. The champ wants to fight Belfort, and I don’t blame him.”

Belfort will seek a license to fight in Nevada at a commission meeting on July 23. His application is unique in that he voluntarily submitted a positive test for an elevated testosterone level earlier this year.

Should the Nevada State Athletic Commission (NSAC) vote in favor of licensing Belfort, which is not guaranteed, White said that didn’t necessarily mean the title fight would take place in Las Vegas.

“It doesn’t have to take place in Nevada,” White said. “That fight would be big in Brazil. I would do it in Brazil as long as the commission clears him. We’d want the OK from Nevada, and if Nevada is cool with it, we’d do it in Brazil.

“We could do it in Nevada [but] you know how big that fight would be in Brazil? Huge. We’d get a big stadium and we’d sell out there.”

Belfort, 37, fought three times in 2013, exclusively in Brazil. He recorded three consecutive knockout victories.

The Brazilian commission approved Belfort to use testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) prior to all three bouts. The NSAC voted earlier this year to ban TRT from combat sports, however, which ultimately led to Belfort’s exit from UFC 173.

Last month, Belfort publicly requested to fight Weidman at Maracana stadium in Rio de Janeiro. The stadium recently served as one of the host sites for the 2014 FIFA World Cup.

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