Middleweight champion Luke Rockhold puts his belt on the line for the first time against the fighter that he took it from, Chris Weidman, at UFC 199 in June. While the champion and former titleholder prepare to rematch, a middleweight bout takes place at UFC 198 on May 14 that could determine who is next in line for a title shot in the 185-pound division.
Second-ranked Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza faces third-ranked Vitor Belfort in the UFC 198 co-main event, and Belfort believes the winner deserves a shot at the champion.
“I’m sure that the winner of this fight deserves to fight for the belt. Something that’s given can be taken away, but something that’s conquered, nobody can take away. Jacare and I deserve it.”
Belfort holds a win over Rockhold. The Brazilian spoiled the former Strikeforce champion’s UFC debut with a spinning heel kick to the head in May 2013. A rematch between the two would be easy marketing.
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Souza had an eight-fighting winning streak snapped in his last outing, losing to Yoel Romero by split decision at UFC 194 in December. The only other fighter in the division that could arguably get a title fight over Souza if he defeats Belfort on May 14 is Michael Bisping. The Englishman is riding a three-fight winning steak and defeated former middleweight champion Anderson Silva in his last outing.
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