Vitor Belfort earned another at the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Middleweight title with his stunning first round head kick knockout of Dan Henderson at UFC Fight Night 32: 'Belfort vs. Henderson' at the Goiania Arena in Goiania, Brazil.
Leading up, UFC President Dana White made it clear that it was a 'must win' situation if Belfort wanted a shot at the gold. With what was likely his last shot at a title on the line, Belfort made it clear that he deserves to face the winner of the UFC 168 rematch between Chris Weidman and Anderson Silva.
Belfort's latest run inside the Octagon has been marred by controversy due to his use of Testosterone Replacement Therapy (TRT), a program that's viewed by most as a legal way to use performance enhancing drugs (PEDs). The controversy gained legs when every single one of Belfort's fights were getting booked for Brazil cards.
Belfort's use of the therapy program was questioned as he had previously tested positive for 4-hydroxytestosterone in his first bout with Henderson at Pride 32. Belfort was suspended for nine months, but ignored the Nevada State Athletic Commission's (NSAC) ruling and took bookings overseas.
The reason the positive test is constantly discussed is because one of the reasons a person would need TRT is because of prior steroid abuse. And as they say, where there is smoke, there's fire.
UFC President Dana White has been adamant that the only reason Belfort fights on the Brazil cards is because he's a major draw on Globo and that there is nothing that's preventing him from fighting in the United States, or more specifically, Las Vegas.
Belfort even said that he'd be willing to go off his TRT program to fight for the title in Nevada in the build up for the Henderson fight. However, a few weeks removed from the fight in Goiania and Belfort is now talking about wanting his title shot to happen in a soccer stadium in Brazil.
In an interview with Guilherme Cruz of MMA Fighting, Belfort discussed the rematch between Weidman and Silva as well as the locale that he would choose for his title shot.
"This fight will be in a soccer stadium," he said. "Whoever wins, I'm sure we can sell out Maracana or any other soccer stadium in Brazil. It would be really interesting."
"I know the UFC will come up with the best idea. They are really focused in Brazil right now. Globo is offering great fights for the Brazilians. I just want to enjoy my training. I will train focused on both, and focused on working my abilities."
While it's clear that Belfort is a draw in Brazil, the only way to silence critics is by removing the variable that they take issue with. In Belfort's case it's the fact that he's found a way to avoid American commission testing while continuing to use TRT.
If Belfort wants to prove he's the best middleweight in the world, he has to do it in America. Otherwise, there will just be a gigantic asterisk next to his name.