Dana White said it "made sense" to pair the winner of Saturday's UFC on FX 8 bout between Vitor Belfort (23-10 MMA, 12-6 UFC) and Luke Rockhold (10-2 MMA, 0-1 UFC) against the winner of July's middleweight title fight between champ Anderson Silva and challenger Chris Weidman.
However, following Belfort's victory, the promotion wasn't quite ready to make that promise.
"I know Sean Shelby was trying to get some comment that we would be able to pass along," UFC executive Marshall Zelaznik told MMAjunkie.com (UFC blog for UFC news, UFC rumors, fighter interviews and event previews/recaps
). "Unfortunately, we can't.
"Obviously Vitor made a big statement. He's now won four in a row at middleweight. He was the No. 2-ranked middleweight coming in. He's probably got a legitimate claim, but that's really Dana (White) and Joe Silva's call."
Neither White nor matchmaker Silva attended Saturday's event, which took place at Arena Jaragua in Jaragua do Sul, Brazil. White did not immediately respond to an MMAjunkie.com request for comment.
With his first-round knockout win over Rockhold in the headlining bout of UFC on FX 8, Belfort improved to 9-2 over the past six years. During that time, his only losses came to UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones and middleweight titleholder Silva. Since the loss to "The Spider, he's gone 4-0 in the middleweight division (though a 2012 bout with Anthony Johnson was actually contested at 197 pounds), and all four wins have come by way of stoppage.
Following his September 2012 loss to Jones, Belfort asked for a rematch with "Bones," and the Brazilian said he still holds out hope for that fight. However, he could potentially book a rematch with Silva if the champ gets by Weidman at UFC 162.
Despite his envious position in the division, Belfort said he's not going to make any challenges.
"I just think things will happen," Belfort said through an interpreter. "I don't think you have to say, 'Oh, I want this.' I just accept. I accept my losses as I accept my victories.
"We just have to go out there. We need to get things. We need to conquer things. You can't want anything. Everything that I wanted, I conquered, and that's how I see things."
If there is one hurdle in the way, it could be Belfort's use of testosterone-replacement therapy, which has been approved for his past two fights, which took place in Brazil. A Silva vs. Belfort rematch would likely prove a blockbuster bout that the UFC would hope to host in the most profitable way possible. Options might include a fight in Las Vegas, where Nevada State Athletic Commission Executive Director Keith Kizer has said he would be unlikely to offer Belfort a therapeutic-use exemption based on previous steroid use.
Belfort declined to discuss his testosterone use following his win.
"Can somebody beat him up for me, please?" Belfort requested when asked by MMAjunkie.com about his situation. "Can somebody beat him up?
"You're boring man, you're boring. Get out of here. ... I'm not going to talk to you. Talk to my hand."
Belfort took a similar approach when pressed again on the issue by a Brazilian journalist.
"Are you joking?" Belfort asked. "You're joking, aren't you?"
Instead, Belfort said he will take a vacation with his family and wait for things to sort themselves out over the next few months. For now, the 36-year-old Belfort will simply revel in one of the best stretches of his likely Hall of Fame-worthy career and enjoy the rewards that come along with back-to-back "Knockout of the Night" performances.
"I'm just like a French wine: the older, the better," Belfort said. "Today is not the day I won this fight. I won this fight waking up at 6 a.m. every day, and dedicating myself to my utmost.
"I would just like to thank God for giving me the strength to deliver this product to you with a lot of honesty."