UFC 146: What's Next for Antonio Silva?

Nathan McCarterFeatured ColumnistMay 27, 2012

Photo Credit: Ron Chenoy-US PRESSWIRE
Photo Credit: Ron Chenoy-US PRESSWIRE

Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva suffered his second consecutive defeat Saturday night at the hands of Cain Velasquez. Following the victory over heavyweight legend Fedor Emelianenko, Silva was tapped to ascend in to the elite of the division. That has not been the case.

After the loss, the future for Bigfoot is not as murky as it seems. While many may jump off the Bigfoot bandwagon, it should be noted that both losses are to elite heavyweights at the top of their game.

Silva's next fight will be a step back in competition and it will serve the 6'4” fighter well.

The 32-year-old needs to reset and get back on the winning track. Over the past few years, he has made remarkable gains in his overall game. But Daniel Cormier and Cain Velasquez have given Bigfoot a healthy dose of reality in what he still needs to work on.

The next fight for Silva should be earmarked for any of the first three losers of the UFC 146 main card.

All three, Lavar Johnson, Shane del Rosario and Dave Herman, set up a fun and interesting fight against Silva. Additionally, the winner will not be immediately subjected to a top contender before they are ready for the challenge.

Bigfoot will hold an advantage against all three. The fights give Silva a favorable matchup while each fighter still poses a legitimate threat to his spot on the roster. It is the type of fight that he needs after suffering his first UFC loss and his second consecutive.

Silva will need time to recover from the beating that Velasquez handed out Saturday night, but an end of the year return seems appropriate to put the heavyweight back inside the cage.

Bigfoot's next fight should allow him time to recover and correct the holes in his game before moving back up the ladder into the shark infested waters. With the UFC heavyweight division getting deeper and deeper, there is no need to rush a fighter up the ranks.

Silva still has a lot of potential that, if realized, will make him a dangerous opponent for any heavyweight. He just needs time to hone his skills before making another run at the elite.

The next step for Silva is to return to camp and continue to work on his deficiencies while preparing for a fight against a non-top five opponent. Losses to Cormier and Velasquez should be viewed as learning experiences for future fights against top contenders. If he makes the necessary adjustments and improvements to his game, Silva will be a fighter to watch in 2013.