Moments after Vitor Belfort nearly put his shin through the back of Michael Bisping's head at UFC on FX 7 back in Jan. 2013, setting up a second round technical knockout finish of "The Count" in Sao Paulo, Brazil, "The Phenom" defiantly took to the microphone in his post-fight interview and called for a rematch with Light Heavyweight Champion Jon Jones.
Bewildered mixed martial arts (MMA) fans rolled their collective eyes and scratched their heads, unable to understand the reason Belfort would call out the 205-pound "Bones" seconds after he registered the most important 185-pound win of his Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) tenure.
Even UFC President Dana White quickly shrugged it off, clarifying that Belfort was a Middleweight and that the 205-pound title opportunity at UFC 152 was -- for all intents and purposes -- a one-off deal (or just MMA politics, depending on who you ask and when).
Undaunted, Belfort returned to the Octagon last night (May 18, 2013) to welcome long-time Strikeforce champion Luke Rockhold to the organization in the main event of UFC on FX 8, which took place at Arena Jaragua in Santa Catarina, Brazil. And Belfort did what he did best, scoring an incredible "Knockout of the Night" in the first round with a ridiculous spinning heel kick (watch it here).
It was insane, leading one so-called MMA "reporter" to declare that Belfort was once again the division's No. 1 contender behind Chris Weidman.
Belfort, meanwhile -- fresh off his best and most meaningful knockout victory ever -- took a much different, more subdued, tack when ringside announcer Jon Anik entered the Octagon to conduct his post-fight interview and asked who he wanted to fight next.
"I'm here to fight -- I don't pick fights, I accept fights," Belfort said. "The fans and [Dana White] decide it. I'm going to root for Anderson Silva [against Chris Weidman at UFC 162]. Brazil has done a tremendous job, we are going through some hardships in Brazil."
It's safe to assume that Belfort got the message loud and clear that a rematch with Jones is simply out of the question, which is the reason he didn't continue to beat his war drum. However, perhaps even more puzzling, Belfort refused to call out the man who just inked a new "10-fight contract," the same man who dashed his 185-pound title aspirations with a front kick to the face at UFC 126 back in Feb. 2011.
Indeed, with back-to-back finishes of top division contenders, Belfort has certainly made a case for a rematch, especially considering that -- aside from a "super" fight and "All American" -- the upcoming options for Silva are few and far between.
Instead, when pressed again during a UFC on FUEL TV post-fight interview, Belfort once again took the easy, an uncharacteristic, way out.
"I want my vacation now," he said. "I promised my wife. I deserve it…. Kelly Slater, I want to go to your house in Hawaii and surf. Separate the house for me for at least one week [laughs]."
One person who wasn't laughing was FUEL TV analyst and three-time UFC title challenger (and loser) Chael Sonnen, the biggest self promoter in the sport. He branded Belfort "almost unstoppable at Middleweight" before the match with Rockhold, saying that all he needed to do was get his mind right to become champion. And when Belfort failed to call for a rematch with Silva in the wake of his biggest win to date inside the Octagon, he suggested that the Brazilian was "scared" of the dominant champion.
His on-air co-panelist, Daniel Cormier, rushed to his defense, arguing that Belfort more than likely didn't make the case for a Silva rematch out of respect for his Brazilian counterpart and the all-Brazilian crowd that was showering him with adoration.
Regardless, the fact remains that Belfort is the hottest thing going in 185-pound division right now and he's saying all the wrong things ... or nothing at all.