Before the fall of therapeutic use exemptions (TUE) for testosterone replacement therapy (TRT), Vitor Belfort was the next in line for a shot at UFC middleweight champion Chris Weidman.
Now that TRT has all come crumbling down and the smoke is starting to clear, Belfort is still next in line for a title shot.
Lyoto Machida is first, but Belfort will get the winner of the UFC 175 bout between Weidman and Machida, according to a UFC Tonight report on Wednesday.
Belfort’s wife and manager Joana Prado told the program that Belfort has set his sights on the winner of the July 5 title bout and that the UFC has indicated that is the fight that is next for “The Phenom.”
Belfort had been expected to fight Weidman at UFC 173 on May 24, but when the Nevada State Athletic Commission shocked everyone and voted to ban TUEs for TRT in February, the fight fell apart. Belfort had been utilizing the therapy and needed time to adjust to the regulatory change.
Weidman was then lined up with Machida. After the date of that fight was pushed back to July 5, Belfort had managed to get his training without TRT under control, and started planning his return to the Octagon.
He was originally going to try and step in for Wanderlei Silva against Chael Sonnen on July 5, but the shell game went haywire after Sonnen tested positive for prohibited substances in a random drug test and subsequently retired.
So now, Belfort is returns to the front of the line, waiting for Weidman and Machida to play out.