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UFC 187 preview for Weidman vs. Belfort: I've lost that loving feeling

Now it's gone, gone, gone.

Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

What a long, strange trip it's been.

Chris Weidman will defend his middleweight title against Vitor Belfort in the co-headliner of the UFC 187 pay-per-view (PPV) event, locked and loaded for this Saturday night (May 23, 2015) inside MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.

It's a compelling fight, and will likely answer a lot of questions about Belfort, who must now prove his terrifying run throughout the middleweight division, one that included knockout wins over Michael Bisping, Luke Rockhold, and Dan Henderson, was a result of skill and not testosterone replacement therapy (TRT).

But we're six days out from the event and somehow, I'm not as jazzed as I should be.

The fact that Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) demoted the "Weidman vs. Belfort" showdown to a co-main event slot (and kept it there even after Jon Jones was exiled) is rather telling, as mixed martial arts (MMA) fans have been subjected to the combat sports equivalent of The Boy Who Cried Wolf.

They're fighting! Wait, no they're not. Okay, now they are! Oh wait ... (repeat ad nauseam).

Belfort was awarded his crack at the crown over a year ago, but never made it to the UFC 175 extravaganza because his urine test came back so hot it practically melted the Dixie cup (gawk at the numbers here). Lyoto Machida stepped in and kept his seat warm, and "The Phenom" was able to get his affairs in order by the end of the year.

UFC 181 was the official do-over.

Except it wasn't, because Weidman went and fractured his hand, forcing a postponement until the following February. Belfort was afforded a few weeks of permissible groaning before finally shifting his focus to the UFC 184 fight card in California.

Once again, the "All American" was hurt and unable to compete.

Now it appears, finally, mercifully, that both Weidman and Belfort will make it to the Octagon without any additional hang ups. That said, I would not be opposed to having them spend their remaining days like the boy in the plastic bubble, just to be safe.

Now, about that insouciance...

I would argue that "Weidman vs. Belfort" suffers from collateral damage. It's hard to get excited about the 185-pound division after it nearly imploded back in February. First, Anderson Silva was taken out of the equation (thanks to this). Then, the showdown between Ronaldo Souza and Yoel Romero was axed due to ... you guessed it ... injury.

Adding salt to the open wound, Jon Jones nearly crippled the UFC 187 fight card with his one-man circus.

That leaves me wondering if it's better to go into a contest with low expectations and be dazzled by a spectacular fight, as opposed to having the highest of hopes and being disappointing by a five-round stinker. Is it too much to ask to have the best of both worlds?

Maybe, maybe not.

I'm pretty sure the former hurts ZUFFA more than the latter, since the promotion lives and dies on PPV buys. And while you can set your clock to fighting champions like Demetrious Johnson and Ronda Rousey, athletes in the heavier weight classes pay the bills.

And too many of them can't stay healthy.

Perhaps that's why I'm proceeding with caution. I'm hoping for a great fight between Weidman and Belfort and more importantly, I'm hoping the winner can move on to defend the middleweight title against Luke Rockhold by late fall or early winter.

But you know what they say about betting a horse by its record.

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