There were three fighters next in line for a shot at the UFC middleweight belt that Anderson “The Spider” Silva currently holds. Dan Henderson was first in line as he was promised a title shot by UFC President Dana White immediately after his knockout victory over Michael Bisping at UFC 100. At UFC 102, Nate arquardt put away the unbeaten Demian Maia with a 21-second knockout in the first round.
MMA fans began to question who was next to face the 185-pound Brazilian champion– Was Dan Henderson next as promised by White during the UFC 100 post-fight press conference? Would Marquardt now have to battle it out with Henderson to see who would be the no. 1 middleweight contender?
At UFC 103, the former UFC light heavyweight champion Vitor “The Phenom” Belfort returned to the Octagon after a 4 1/2 years. During his UFC absence, Belfort acquired 7 wins in 10 fights as he fought top competitors in several MMA promotions including PrideFC, Cage Rage, Strikeforce and Affliction. His first UFC comeback bout was against the former UFC middleweight fighter, Rich “Ace” Franklin. The way Belfort broke down Franklin in a matter of three minutes, proved how much of a threat he could be in the UFC middleweight division. In the eyes of Dana White, Belfort deserved an immediate title shot against Silva which placed him slightly above Henderson and Marquardt.
Silva was rumored to undergo elbow surgery not too long ago and although he denied such news in a recent interview, White stated that he was still meeting up with the doctors.
From Dana White:
“Contrary to whatever the hell [Silva] is saying, he’s not 200 percent healthy…He’s having some bone spurs removed from his elbow, which is a simple little procedure that happens, but you’ve got to have recovery time.”
UFC 108 will headline a UFC middleweight title fight between Anderson “The Spider” Silva and Vitor “The Phenom” Belfort. The event is scheduled to take place on January 2nd, 2010 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.