Silva vs. Franklin: 5 Fights Wanderlei Silva Could Take Next
Wanderlei Silva's homecoming didn't go over exactly as planned, thanks to former UFC middleweight champ Rich Franklin.
"The Axe Murderer" dropped a unanimous decision in the UFC 147 main event, making him a startling 3-7 in his last 10 bouts.
What's next for Silva? Could retirement be on the table?
Silva has yet to address the media following his loss to Franklin, but in an interview with Fightline earlier in the week, the former Pride middleweight champion didn't express any interest in hanging up his gloves:
I'm going to keep going while my body feels good. I feel good, and I love to fight, and when you've been inside the cage with like 20,000 people cheering for you, that's an incredible sensation.
I don't know what I'm going to do after I finish because all the time I have these unique moments and I'm so happy for all that's happened in my life and my career. I just want to compete.
With his last three victories coming over Cung Le, Keith Jardine and Michael Bisping, Silva can obviously still compete. He just isn't the same fighter he once was, and his berserker-like, hook-happy style struggles to keep him afloat in a deepening UFC middleweight talent pool.
If he opts to continue fighting, here are five fights Silva could take next.
Michael Bisping - Esther Lin/AOL
A rematch from over two years ago could be the UFC's best bet in maintaining Silva's relevancy in the middleweight division.
Coming off a loss to Chael Sonnen, Michael Bisping is very much alive in the UFC title picture. The booking of this fight would be a win across the board.
While fans are treated to a rematch of a great fight, Bisping would get a chance to avenge a previous defeat, and Silva could prolong his UFC stay and leapfrog up the 185-pound ladder.
Alessio Sakara - April Pishna/MMAWeekly
A bout between Alessio Sakara and Silva is an intriguing, under-the-radar fight.
Sakara is a tremendous boxer who should have no issue in obliging Silva in a game of "Rock 'em, Sock 'em Robots."
This would also be a safer route for Silva to get back to his winning ways.
Chris Leben - Esther Lin/MMAFighting
Chris Leben put Silva's lights out in 27 seconds the last time these two stepped into the Octagon against one another.
A rematch would be a guaranteed fireworks display that could beef up a future card.
Brian Stann - Esther Lin/MMAFighting
Brian Stann has been asking for a fight with Silva since early 2011.
The bout was rumored for UFC 130, but Silva turned down the fight out of respect for Stann being an American hero.
Apparently, Silva was worried about being deemed public enemy No. 1 for fighting Stann in the states.
"The Axe Murderer" later began to warm up to the idea and admitted he would cross paths with Stann one day.
Is today that day?
Vitor Belfort - Esther Lin/MMAFighting
The personal animosity between Vitor Belfort and Silva is long-lived and in deep need of being hashed out in the Octagon.
The two MMA legends served as opposing coaches on the inaugural season of The Ultimate Fighter in Brazil.
They were initially slated to meet in the UFC 147 main event, but Belfort was forced to withdraw after suffering a broken hand in training.