Dana White says Luke Rockhold vs. Vitor Belfort is in the Works
When asked about possible future opponents for the middleweight contender, UFC President Dana White stated to reporters on Thursday that Strikeforce middleweight champion Luke Rockhold is at the top of the list.
“Rockhold,” White said. “That’s what we’re talking about.”
Belfort would without question be Rockhold's biggest name-value opponent to date.
Rockhold’s ascent among the middleweight ranks came after the Zuffa purchase of Strikeforce. He put his name on the map when he claimed the promotion’s middleweight title by defeating Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza in Sept. of 2011. The American Kickboxing Academy trained fighter would then defend his belt two times against Keith Jardine and Tim Kennedy, respectively.
Unfortunately, his rise came during Strikeforce's decline into ultimately shutting down operations after its final event earlier this month.
Belfort most recently defeated top contender Michael Bisping via TKO in the second round at UFC on FX 7, which was setup by a stunning head kick. Unlike Rockhold, "The Phenom" has been a staple name in the MMA world for quite some time, especially this past year. He started off 2012 by tapping out Anthony Johnson with a rear-naked choke at UFC 142 in the first round. The bout was contested at 205-pounds due to Johnson's inability to make the 186-pound minimum at weigh-ins, which Belfort was able to make .
The following month, Vitor was a coach on the first season of The Ultimate Fighter: Brazil opposite rival coach Wanderlei Silva. The show was the first international version of the popular television series. Then in Sept. of 2012, following the historic UFC 151 cancelation and peculiar Jon Jones matchmaking controversy, he faced Jones for the UFC light heavyweight title at UFC 152. “The Phenom” lost that fight, but put the young champion in the most dangerous position of his career, nearly securing a very tight armbar in the first round.
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