Has "The Phenom" finally gained your attention?
Vitor Belfort now has three-straight stoppage victories, all coming from his native Brazil, against former Strikeforce Middleweight champion Luke Rockhold, Michael Bisping and the legendary Dan Henderson.
"The Phenom" stopped Henderson in little more than one minute with a head kick on Saturday night (Nov. 9, 2013) at UFC Fight Night 32 in Gioania, Brazil, dropping "Hendo" twice in the Light Heavyweight rematch (watch full video highlights here). Henderson, a former Pride FC Grand Prix winner, Welterweight champion and Middleweight champion -- not to mention a former Strikeforce 205-pound champion -- beat Belfort at Pride FC 32 back in 2006.
But, he failed to do it twice before a Brazilian crowd who were cheering on their warrior, succumbing to Belfort's blinding speed and devastating power.
Watch video highlights of Belfort's knockout over Henderson right here.
At 36 years old, Belfort looks like he is in the prime of his career, as odd as that may sound, cashing in another "Knockout of the Night" bonus. With only two losses in his past 10 fights (both were unsuccessful attempts at Light Heavyweight and Middleweight gold), Belfort seems destined for another title shot. Yet, we still need to see the outcome of the 185-pound title clash at UFC 168 between champion Chris Weidman and former kingpin Anderson Silva.
After Dana White's comments that Belfort absolutely needed to win to secure his place at Middleweight, this potential title shot seems like it is set in stone.
As we mentioned before, Belfort's track record proves that he should get another crack at the title. And if Silva defeats Weidman, White will salivate over their rematch in Brazil. It would be too sweet not to book, considering the mass appeal from the Brazilian fans and how much money the company would make off that fight.
However, Belfort has insisted that he would stop using testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) if he would be granted a title shot. If that fight happens in Brazil, where that particular commission is not shy to keep granting him exceptions, would that change his mind?
Would any other fight make sense for Belfort at the moment? An immediate title shot at 205 pounds will not happen whatsoever, with Jon Jones eyeing Glover Teixeira as his next foe, along with Alexander Gustafsson and Jimi Manuwa set to battle in a fight that has rematch written all over it for "The Mauler" if he can outlast his counterpart.
Phil Davis and Daniel Cormier hang in the balance, yet why would Belfort risk losing his place by fighting either of these athletes in a division where a second title shot seems unlikely? And is there anything for him left to do at Middleweight? Destroying Rockhold, Bisping and now "Hendo" seems good enough, while a showdown with Lyoto Machida would be nice, but more than likely unnecessary.
"The Phenom" could be matched up with the likes of Tim Kennedy (even though their original meeting was met with outcry) or even someone like Francis Carmont. And with all due respect to those two, isn't Belfort way above them in terms of climbing up the ladder, and ultimately deserving another title shot based on what he has done?
A fight with Sonnen seems unlikely, given his coaching role against Wanderlei Silva in the upcoming season of The Ultimate Fighter (TUF): "Brazil 3," and a fight with "Jacare" seems like it could happen, smart money says those fights will not happen anytime soon.
Indeed, Belfort has earned a 185-pound title shot. However, it will come with controversy and scrutiny.
UFC has faced a backlash for always booking Belfort in Brazil, and no matter how it tries to cover it up by saying he is a huge star in his native land, the athletic commission in Brazil lets Belfort off the hook with his TRT usage, granting him exemptions without a problem.
Many pundits feel Belfort's recent run of success is largely because of TRT helping him. If Belfort wants to prove to the world that he will not need it for a title fight, he should not use it and better yet, should fight outside of Brazil.
Although, that is his choice ... and the choice of his employers, too.
For complete UFC Fight Night 32: "Belfort vs. Henderson" results and fight coverage click here.