That is according to an ESPN report citing UFC CEO Lorenzo Fertitta.
“Depending on Chris Weidman, I’d like to do Vegas [in] May or July,” Fertitta said via text message.
UFC president Dana White confirmed that Belfort would be Weidman’s next challenger after the champion defeated Anderson Silva for a second time in their UFC 168 headlining bout on Dec. 28 in Las Vegas, although he didn’t give any hints as to when or where the two would meet.
Belfort hasn’t fought in the United States since 2011. He has fought five times since then, four of those bouts being in his home country of Brazil.
Speculation has often been that Belfort has fought frequently in Brazil because the athletic commission there grants him an exemption for testosterone replacement therapy. He might find it difficult to get such an exemption in Las Vegas since he tested positive for the anabolic steroid 4-Hydroxytestosterone and was suspended for nine months following his fight with Dan Henderson at Pride 32 in 2006.
“I don’t see Vitor Belfort getting a TRT exemption from us,” Nevada Athletic Commission executive director Keith Kizer told Bleacher Report last year, citing his past positive test.
White, however, has consistently maintained that Belfort’s TRT use had nothing to do with so many of his fights taking place in Brazil. The UFC president said that Belfort’s frequent bouts in Brazil were at the request of the UFC’s Brazilian television partner, Globo.
“There’s no reason why Vitor Belfort can’t fight in Las Vegas, or anywhere else in the United States,” said White.
For his part, Belfort has stated that he would accept a title fight whether or not he was allowed a TRT exemption.
Weidman did not receive any sort medical suspension following his recent title defense over Silva. Belfort has been clamoring for a title shot since his November victory over Dan Henderson, in which he suffered no injuries. So there are currently no known physical issues that should preclude Weidman vs. Belfort from taking place within the Fertitta’s preferred timeframe.
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