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Luke Rockhold wants 'Vitor Belfort on a silver platter' in first title defense

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Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Yoel Romero beat Ronaldo Souza on Saturday night in what many pegged as a middleweight title eliminator.

Luke Rockhold, the new middleweight champion after UFC 194, respects Romero. But he has other plans for his first title defense.

"What I would like, why not? Vitor Belfort on a silver platter," Rockhold said of the Fox Sports 1 post-fight show. "C'mon Dana."

Belfort beat Rockhold with a first-round spinning back kick in 2013. That was Rockhold's last loss and it has been burning him up. Rockhold has criticized Belfort repeatedly for being on testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) for that fight and has accused him of using performance-enhancing drugs on multiple occasions.

At the time, Belfort was granted a therapeutic usage exemption (TUE) for TRT by the Brazilian MMA Athletic Commission (CABMMA). Belfort lost to Chris Weidman in a middleweight title fight at UFC 187 in May, but rebounded to knockout Dan Henderson last month.

"I gotta right my wrong," Rockhold said. "What can I say?"

From Belfort's Instagram post Sunday, it seems like he'd be down for a rematch as well. Belfort had been rumored to be fighting Anderson Silva next in Brazil in March. In the post, Belfort said Rockhold's head is "still spinning since 2013."

Rockhold finished Weidman by fourth-round TKO on Saturday in the co-main event of UFC 194 in Las Vegas. He has won five straight since the Belfort loss.

Romero beat "Jacare" also at UFC 194 via split decision, but it was controversial. Some had Souza winning by decision. Others decried Romero's cage-grabbing to stop a "Jacare" takedown.

"Yoel had a so-so performance," Rockhold said. "It was a little iffy. I respect the guy. He's very tough. But is that credible? I don't know. You guys tell me. You guys are the analysts."

Rockhold wouldn't mind Romero next. But there is a Brazilian legend he would prefer to face, even if Belfort is not necessarily in line for a title shot.

"I just want to rub it in," Rockhold said. "The man deserves a little bit more. I gotta bring him down even further."