Good Evening
Good Evening
SportsMixed Martial Arts

Chris Weidman vs. Vitor Belfort is a fight 17 months in the making

Chris Weidman's fight during UFC 187 is 17

Chris Weidman's fight during UFC 187 is 17 months in the making. Credit: AP

LAS VEGAS -- A man in a suit was called upon to ask his question at a post-fight news conference. That man was Vitor Belfort and he wanted a shot at Chris Weidman's UFC middleweight title.

That was on Dec. 28, 2013, and UFC president Dana White agreed that Belfort was next in line for such a fight. As did Weidman. As did most of those in attendance.

Seventeen months and three cancellations later, Weidman and Belfort are a few days away from meeting inside the octagon on Saturday at UFC 187 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena.

"Vitor has definitely always been in the back of my mind just as it all started going down," Weidman said. "I knew this fight was going to happen, but with this time off, I think life is all about self-improvement and just creating a better you."

Here's a rundown of how we arrived -- finally -- at Weidman vs. Belfort:

In February of 2014, the Nevada Athletic Commission voted unanimously to ban granting therapeutic use exemptions for testosterone replacement therapy. That same day, the UFC announced that it no longer would allow fighters using TRT to compete in events it self-governed (which typically are overseas events where there are no regulating bodies). Belfort had faced criticism over the past two years for his TRT use and was removed from the fight. Lyoto Machida took his place and the fight was moved from May to July.

Weidman (12-0) won a five-round unanimous decision over Machida at UFC 175 last July and again was supposed to fight Belfort later that year.

That fight was supposed to take place at UFC 181 in December of 2014. It was postponed when a second medical exam revealed that Weidman's injured hand was actually a broken hand and not strained ligaments as originally diagnosed.

Weidman vs. Belfort then was set for UFC 184 in February 2015. Weidman fractured rib cartilage about four weeks before the bout, forcing him to postpone the fight again.

Belfort (24-10), winner of three straight fights by head-kick knockout, hasn't fought since Nov. 9, 2013.

New York Sports