During Saturday’s broadcast of The Ultimate Fighter 9 Finale, UFC President Dana White announced that former UFC light heavyweight champion Vitor Belfort could soon return to the UFC and challenge UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva.
As a guest on “Inside the Octagon” hosted by TUF 7 winner Amir Sadollah, White also confirmed that light heavyweight champion Lyoto Machida will defend his title on October 24 in Los Angeles against Mauricio “Shogun” Rua and maintained that he’d prefer Chuck Liddell retire, though the most surprising news was the announcement that Belfort may again be competing inside the Octagon.
Currently under contract with Affliction and scheduled to fight Jorge Santiago on August 1 at Affliction: Trilogy, Belfort has won four-straight fights since 2007, defeating Ivan Serati and James Zikic at light heavyweight before moving to middleweight in July 2008 with a second-round knockout of Terry Martin. In January, Belfort dispatched of veteran Matt Lindland via knockout in just 37-seconds.
Belfort won the UFC light heavyweight title in 2004 with a first-round cut TKO of Randy Couture, but lost the belt to Couture in a rematch later that year via third-round doctor’s stoppage. “The Phenom” left the UFC following a split-decision loss to Tito Ortiz, then suffered another loss to Alistair Overeem in PRIDE. Belfort went 2-2 with another loss to Overeem and a defeat to Dan Henderson before his recent four-fight win streak. He holds previous notable wins over Marvin Eastman, Bobby Southworth, Heath Herring, Wanderlei Silva, and Gilbert Yvel.
According to White, Silva wishes to remain at 185-pounds following his UFC 101 light heavyweight bout against Forrest Griffin and should Belfort win his August bout he could be fast-tracked to a middleweight title shot.
[Pictured: Vitor Belfort]