The next challenger for Chris Weidman's middleweight championship is Vitor Belfort, who fought three times last year, winning each by KO, via head kick. The fight will likely be in May, with indications that it will be in Vegas.
However, a difficult question hangs over the fight - will Belfort receive a Therapeutic Use Exemption for Testosterone Replacement Therapy? One potential cause of low testosterone is prior abuse of PEDs, and Belfort tested positive in Las Vegas in 2006. Thus the Nevada State Athletic Commission has expressed reservations about licensing Belfort, and the UFC intends to hold the fight in Vegas.
Belfort has been granted Therapeutic Use Exemptions for TRT by other commissions, but Nevada is particularly careful in this regard.
Belfort expressed confidence that he would be licensed.
"I'm able to fight anywhere," said Belfort. "I have done everything by the book. Everybody knows that people cheat, but I don't. I'm very open and very loyal to my principles."
However, Dan Henderson, who is coming off a November loss to Belfort, appeared recently on The MMA Hour, and offered a contrary opinion. Hendo, who himself uses TRT, said that "The Phenom" will not be issued a TUE, and that he would lose.
When asked if Belfort would beat Weidman, Hendo was blunt.
"No," he replied, as transcribed by Adam Guillen Jr for MMAMania. "Vitor is very capable of beating anybody in those first few minutes of the fight because he is dangerous and he hits hard. But, I don't see it happening, especially if the fight is in the US.
"I don't know, I'm not going to point fingers and say things I have no idea about. Obviously he won't be able to use TRT here. I just feel his body has definitely changed a little bit in the last couple of years since he hasn't been fighting here. There's reasons for that. He's been fighting a long time and we've seen his body change a couple of different times. It is what it is. At the same time, I have no idea, he could be doing everything right by the book and the way he should. Which is what he should have done years ago, as well."