At the top of the list are names like Chris Weidman, Vitor Belfort and Alan Belcher, who could all be considered at worst top ten middleweights, but getting them to agree to fight one another appears to be a problem right now.
Chris Weidman fresh off his victory over Mark Munoz at UFC on Fuel TV 4 believes he’s the man to face Anderson Silva next for the UFC middleweight title, and no other fight makes a lot of sense for him.
“I feel like I really deserve it. I beat two top five guys and I think I’m a stylistic nightmare for Anderson Silva. I would love to get that shot. No one else is on a five-fight win streak and beat the quality of guys I’ve beaten. I’m ready to speak up a little bit, just be confident in my abilities and respectfully call out Anderson Silva,” Weidman told MMAWeekly Radio.
Despite Weidman’s pleas for a shot at Anderson Silva, UFC president Dana White still seems unsure of who will face the champion next and there may be a sort of “round-robin” de facto tournament to finally declare who will be the contender worthy of challenging the greatest titleholder in UFC history.
So while the UFC brass makes decisions behind the scenes, the rest of the middleweight contenders are trying to make matches for themselves.
Start with former UFC middleweight title contender Vitor Belfort, who has been out of action since January, first for filming The Ultimate Fighter Brasil and then dealing with an injury that kept him out of his scheduled fight against fellow coach Wanderlei Silva in June.
Now on the road to recovery, Belfort is gunning for a big fight in his native Brazil as part of the UFC 153 card headed to Rio de Janeiro in October and there is one name on his list of potential opponents.
“Guys I spoke to Joe Silva and ask to fight with the top contender (Chris) Weidman here in Brasil,” Belfort wrote on his Twitter account on Tuesday.
“I want the belt but I am not desperate. I think Weidman is next for the belt, but Anderson Silva deserve to see who is next. So let’s make this fight the next contender. Belfort vs. Weidman, the next contender for Anderson Silva.”
For his part, Weidman doesn’t seem too interested in facing Belfort in Brazil coming off his win over Munoz in July.
“Love ya Vitor Belfort but you already had your shot at the belt, and I’m sure you will have another in the future,” Weidman wrote in response to Belfort. “Right now is my time though.”
Next up on the hit list is Mississippi native Alan Belcher, who also believes he should be close to a title shot next. Belcher is on a four-fight win streak and has looked ultra impressive in his last two victories over Jason MacDonald and Rousimar Palhares.
Belcher has been asking for every top middleweight under the sun, but as of now no one has stepped up to face him, so he’s taking the social networking route as well to try and find an opponent.
“I will fight anyone although I want to fight someone who will challenge me,” Belcher said via Twitter. “I want to fight Vitor Belfort in his home country in October.”
Belcher and his manager Malki Kawa have also been petitioning to land a fight with Chris Weidman as well, but as of now Weidman seems resigned to hopefully face Anderson Silva next.
Also don’t forget to add in top ten middleweight Tim Boetsch, who is coming off a big win over former Bellator middleweight champion Hector Lombard. While it wasn’t the most exciting of fights, Boetsch did enough to crush the hype surrounding Lombard in one 15-minute bout.
The only thing working against Boetsch right now is a possible broken foot suffered in the fight with Lombard that will likely land him on injured reserve for the next couple of months.
While this is the fight game, right now the UFC’s middleweight division looks more like a soap opera as fighters all try to land the right match-ups.
Unfortunately, no two fighters seem to want to fight each other and it will be left up to matchmaker Joe Silva to decide who gets whom when the bouts finally get made.
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