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Anderson Silva: Vitor Belfort deserves to fight for the title

Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Vitor Belfort’s second shot at the middleweight title isn’t a done deal yet, but former champion Anderson Silva believes he has done enough to earn it.

Silva, who stopped Belfort with a front kick to the face at UFC 126 to defend the middleweight belt, agreed that "The Phenom" should be the next in line for a shot at the gold after consecutive stoppage wins over Dan Henderson, Michael Bisping and Luke Rockhold in the UFC.

"I believe he deserves to fight for the title, even because he has been doing his part (to earn a title shot), just like other fighters like Ronaldo Jacare and Lyoto Machida, who just dropped to 185," Silva told the media in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

White stated several times in the past that Belfort wouldn’t have another shot at Silva due the fact that he suffered a quick loss to the fellow Brazilian, but stopping three top ranked opponents at 185 and 205 made him change his mind.

After Belfort’s 77-second TKO win over Henderson at UFC Fight Night 32 in Goiania, Brazil, on Nov. 9, the UFC president said he anticipates "big things" for him next, but wouldn’t commit to give him a shot at the winner of Chris Weidman vs. Anderson Silva 2, who meet on Dec. 28, yet.

Silva believes he’s right there already.

"I saw the fight, he fought really well," the former champion said. "Vitor has been doing great, showing why he was the UFC champion for a long time. He deserves respect. We’ll just have to wait for the next chapters."

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