In a bout more than a year in the making, the UFC middleweight champion finally got into the cage with the Brazilian legend and shook off a slow start before making a memorable comeback and an emphatic finish.
In front of a frenzied MGM Grand Garden Arena crowd whose loyalties were divided, Weidman finished the former UFC light heavyweight champion via TKO at UFC 187 to improve to 13-0 and successfully defend his belt for the third time.
"Hey, stop doubting me," Weidman teased the crowd. "This is your last invitation, come join the team."
Belfort (24-11, 1 no-contest) set the tone by rushing out at Weidman and throwing a knee. Belfort took over in the frenetic early moments and lined up Weidman for a solid series of uppercuts, which cut Weidman open.
Weidman, however, managed to grit his way through the flurry and break free. He scored an easy takedown, got into position, and delivered a Mark Coleman-esque, old-school ground-and-pound clinic to finish the fight, which was waved off at the 2:53 mark.
"All I was thinking was you were tiring yourself out," Weidman said. "He hit me with some good shots, but I was covering covering covering and I came back."
The previous day, Weidman called Belfort a cheater at the weigh-ins. This was Belfort's first fight since Nevada banned testosterone replacement therapy, and led to Belfort's first loss since 2012. But Weidman was conciliatory after the fight.
"Belfort's a legend of the sport," Weidman said. "Vitor's hanging his head over there, but he shouldn't be."