by Adam Martin
Who’s going to fight UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva?
It’s a good question, and it’s one I really don’t have an answer to. And I doubt the UFC has an answer, either.
In the main event of UFC on FX 7, which took place in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Michael Bisping lost the opportunity to fight Silva for the title when former UFC light heavyweight champion Vitor Belfort kicked him in the head and finished him off with punches in one of the most spectacular finishes MMA has seen in a while.
The loss puts an end to Bisping’s title aspirations, while strangely Belfort called out UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones and not Silva.
Had Belfort asked to fight Silva, it’s possible the UFC could have granted his wish, because a rematch between the two rivals down in Brazil would be massive. Instead, though, he asked for Jones, despite the fact Jones is already scheduled to fight Chael Sonnen at UFC 159 and that Silva is currently sitting on the sidelines with no fight booked.
So who does Silva fight next?
Many consider Chris Weidman the No. 1 contender, but the undefeated prospect is currently recovering from surgery and doesn’t have the name value that Silva desires in an opponent. There’s Luke Rockhold, the former Strikeforce middleweight champion, but it might be better to give him a tune-up fight first. And Hector Lombard, who fights Yushin Okami at UFC on FUEL TV 8, needs to string together a few more victories before we call him a title contender considering his shocking loss to Tim Boetsch at UFC 149 just last July.
As well, there’s been talk that Rashad Evans, should he get by Antonio Rogerio Nogueira at UFC 156, could drop down to 185 pounds and fight Silva for the title. Considering Evans is one of the biggest draws in the UFC, there’s no doubt that Silva would want to fight him because it’s a huge pay cheque. Evans, with his wrestling and knockout power, has the tools to defeat Silva and this would be an excellent fight. The only question is if Evans wants to drop down a weight class, as it’s no guarantee he can even make the 185-pound weight limit.
As well, there’s still the possibility that should UFC welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre get by Nick Diaz at UFC 158, he could finally fight Silva. But, again, it’s no sure thing that St-Pierre would be willing to move up a weight class and take on Silva, who could very well be fighting at 205 pounds.
So which of these aforementioned men should Silva fight?
I think the easiest thing to do is for the UFC to book Silva vs. Rockhold and bill it as a champion vs. champion, title unification bout. Both fighters are currently not booked for bouts, so now’s the perfect time to do it. It’d be a fun fight and it could provide either a spectacular knockout finish by Silva or a gigantic upset by Rockhold. So you heard it here first, Silva vs. Rockhold, I’m calling it now, and I think it’ll go down this summer at the fourth of July weekend event in Las Vegas.
Let us know who you think Anderson Silva should fight next by voting on the MMAOnline.com opinion poll.
What are your thoughts?