He's back! Well, sort of.
Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) middleweight No. 1 contender Vitor Belfort, who was promised a crack at the 185-pound crown as recently as last week, has apparently rid his body of synthetic testosterone, after a change in the rule book banned the use of testosterone replacement therapy (TRT).
It was a time-consuming process and one that booted him from a middleweight showdown against current 185-pound kingpin Chris Weidman, but a necessary one if "The Phenom" hoped to get licensed by the Nevada State Athletic Commission (NSAC).
From his conversation with MMA Fighting:
"I did all the tests that Nevada requires. I did it on my own, and I passed them all. There is nothing in my system anymore. God has blessed me. I'm ready now, and I'm waiting. I'm [meeting with commission] really soon. The important is that I'm doing everything by the rules. Everything was an excuse to my opponents, and they won't have it anymore. It's the opposite now, they will be at an advantage. (I used) TRT to be at their levels. They will lose now and won't have any excuses."
Weidman fights Lyoto Machida for all the marbles at UFC 175 over Fourth of July Weekend (details).
That gives Belfort (24-10) plenty of time to apply for his license to fight. In addition, it allows him to sharpen his skills inside the gym, as he will undoubtedly be under a microscope upon his Octagon return. A sensational win validates his assertion that he's just that damn good.
Coming up lame, however, will invalidate his recent reign of terror in the court of public opinion.
Time will tell.