Anderson Silva. Middleweight champion of the world. Greatest of all time.
After finishing Chael Sonnen in the second round at UFC 148 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, it appears that he has once again cleared out the middleweight division.
The list of contenders is relatively weak. Mark Munoz has had trouble with other middleweights not on Silva's plateau, Chris Weidman is still a young prospect growing into the fighter he will one day become and Michael Bisping has yet to return from his loss to Chael Sonnen.
Bisping seems the most logical choice, but would that even be competitive? Bisping is nowhere near the striker or wrestler he needs to be to compete with Silva.
That leaves a return to the light heavyweight division—and not to challenge for the title and have a so-called superfight with Jon Jones, but to provide the UFC with money fights between veterans who are not in the hunt.
And the one that jumps off the page is Rashad Evans vs. Anderson Silva.
Much has been made of Evans' frame. Joe Rogan has commented on previous UFC broadcasts that he could make 185 lbs. That has never been a great idea to Evans, who has utilized his speed and athleticism to great heights at 205 lbs.
After suffering the defeat to Jon Jones earlier in 2012, he will be out of the light heavyweight title picture for quite some time. What is more important to Evans at this stage in his career: big money fights or making another run at the championship? Only he knows the answer to that.
Who should Anderson fight next?
A fight against Anderson Silva would be another highly marketable bout. And unlike Silva's previous forays in to the division, Evans will have the speed, wrestling, power and athleticism to make it an interesting contest.
While the proposed superfights between Silva and Georges St-Pierre or Jones seem good on paper, they offer no redeeming value. Why make one of your champions suffer a defeat, and potentially a brutal one?
That just sounds bad for business—especially when there are other marketable stars to fill that hole if you want a superfight.
Rashad Evans fills that void.
Evans also brings his trash-talking to the table. He is able to sell a fight as good as anyone in the business. If he uses this against Silva, it will make for another premier battle the UFC could promote for a big show.
The fight makes sense.
Silva is done at middleweight and is 37 years old. It is time to let the new regime of talented youngsters take over, while he collects big paychecks for huge fights.
If a young fighter challenges for the belt and upsets him, it will make it seem as if Silva is old and past his prime. His value plummets then. Pitting him against another veteran headed for the UFC Hall of Fame doesn't threaten his stock like that.
With the amount of cards the UFC puts on in a year now, it also helps spread out the talent. It frees up a championship that can headline a card while two big stars headline in another market.
And since Evans is not competing for a title shot any time soon and has all the tools in and out of the Octagon to sell the fight, he is at the top of the list.
Two dynamic athletes competing to simply find out who is better. No championships. No obvious physical disadvantages. They are evenly matched in those regards. It would be a legacy fight for either man.
Black House vs. Blackzilians. Silva vs. Evans. Sign me up.
Somebody call Joe Silva.