It’s no secret that UFC middleweight champion Chris Weidman’s next title defense will be against Vitor Belfort. It’s also no secret that UFC officials plan for the bout to be in Las Vegas in late spring or mid-summer.
UFC president Dana White, in a scrum with reporters on Thursday, reiterated that the fight will be either May 24 (Memorial Day Weekend) or July 5 (Fourth of July Weekend) and that “it will be in Vegas.”
Weidman, however, is making a strong push for the earlier date.
“Weidman is pushing to make it earlier (the May date) because he wants to have a normal summer with his family,” said White. “He hasn’t had a normal summer in a while.”
There had been some lingering questions about Weidman’s health. He didn’t suffer any injuries in his second defeat of Anderson Silva, at UFC 168 on Dec. 28, but his Brazilian jiu-jitsu coach, Matt Serra, told Fox Sports at one point that there was some minor discomfort in his knee leading up to that fight.
White said that there are no longer any health concerns for the champ.
“His knees are good,” said White. “It was actually both his knees, but they’re both good.”
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Having defeated Silva twice, and now stepping into the Octagon in the next few months with a red-hot Vitor Belfort, White believes that the star power is in place to deliver a solid pay-per-view number. More than that, if Weidman wins, White believes he may have his next superstar.
“[If Weidman beats Belfort] he’s the best. He’s No. 1. How is he not No. 1 pound-for-pound in the world if he beats Vitor Belfort?” White exclaimed. “It’s impossible not to call him the No. 1 pound-for-pound guy.”
When it was pointed out that White has been a little quick to proclaim a new No. 1 in the pound-for-pound rankings lately – he recently said if Renan Barão defeats Urijah Faber next week, he would be No. 1 on the list – he was just as quick to defend his proclamation about Weidman.
“If [Weidman] beats Vitor, Barão’s [expletive] No. 2!”