Quite a few folks were surprised when the UFC announced that Michael Bisping, and not Vitor Belfort, was fighting Anderson Silva next. Why did the promotion go that route? Well, during a recent media call, Bisping offered an answer.
For sometime, it was widely expected that the UFC was going to have Silva fight Belfort once again, when he returned to action. Silva’s one year suspension for testing positive for PEDs will end in early 2016. The two battled back in 2011 during the heights of the Silva era, and Belfort was taken out in the first round with a vicious front kick (most of the world has seen the footage…).
There was some talk several months ago that Silva might fight Bisping, but since the latter was scheduled to fight Gegard Mousasi on February 27th, no one could have predicted the switch.
Well, recently Silva and Bisping attended a media call to promote their upcoming bout, and during it, the latter said this (quote via MMA Mania.com):
“Vitor Belfort turned the fight down,” Bisping said. “When Dana called me and said the opponent had changed from Gegard (Mousasi) to Anderson (Silva), I was thrilled. I always wanted to show the world that I could beat Anderson and I know I can and I get to do that in February.”
Could Belfort have turned it down? Maybe. Following his stoppage win over Dan Henderson in November, Belfort did say he was interested in fighting Luke Rockhold. Since “The Phenom” has a win over the new champ, and Rockhold really, really, wants to fight him again, perhaps he’s hoping to leap over Yoel Romero?