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Vitor Belfort: “If you want to fight Vitor Belfort, you’ve gotta earn it.”

Vitor Belfort: “If you want to fight Vitor Belfort, you’ve gotta earn it.”

UFC middleweight Vitor Belfort will have a close eye on this weekend’s UFC 162 card with a particular emphasis on what goes down in the main event between champion Anderson Silva and challenger Chris Weidman. While he hasn’t been named as the next top contender, Belfort’s recent run of success at 185 pounds has earned him such status in the eyes of most. However, until he’s actually booked for a title-bout, the possibility of Belfort being paired with an opponent lacking gold remains. After all, the outcome could be a controversial split decision, Silva could get an immediate rematch in defeat, or the winner could emerge injured.

As such, Belfort understands nothing is guaranteed, though he does have one requirement when it comes to a rumble.

“If you want to fight Vitor Belfort, you’ve gotta earn it,” said Belfort in an interview with Sherdog. “Just like if you want to play someone that’s already in the quarter or semi finals, you cannot, just because you won something a long time ago, you can’t say, ‘Let me play the guys from the semifinals.’ No, you have to go earn your spot.

“I want to fight for the belt — that’s my goal. That’s the goal of a fighter, that’s the goal of an athlete in the UFC. That’s the goal of Vitor Belfort — I’m a winner, I’m a champion. That’s what I want, that’s what I’m fighting for. I’ve been proving and I’ve been earning, so the only thing I see next for me is fights that will bring me up,” he continued, shrugging off a recent challenge from former Strikeforce champion Gegard Mousasi.

“I’m not a ladder for anyone….This is division [is full] of great athletes. If Mousasi wants to fight someone, go fight Luke Rockhold, go fight Michael Bisping. He has to prove himself,” the Brazilian legend concluded.

Belfort is 4-0 at middleweight since falling to Silva in 2011 with a finishing performance in each victory. He’s fought twice this year, knocking out both Rockhold and Bisping in highlight-reel fashion.