MMA fans, July 8, 2012 was a sad day.
The most hyped championship bout in UFC history has come and gone, and now we are left with mere memories and recollections of what was a devastatingly perfect performance by the world's greatest fighter against his most bitter rival.
This is like the day after your wedding, when you realize that the fun is over and now you are saddled with financial and emotional obligations you may not have wanted to shoulder.
This is the day after you graduate college, when you realize that now you have to find a job and actually work.
This is the day after Anderson Silva, the greatest mixed martial arts fighter of all time, cemented his legacy and squashed his most hated enemy, when you realize that the next UFC event features two middleweights who, combined, are not even close to Silva's level of brilliance.
At UFC 148, Silva cleaned out a division and left many wondering who could possibly be next.
Who can challenge this man?
Who can handle his superiority?
It will have to be somebody who can wrestle, somebody who is fast and can manhandle Silva, somebody who has experience against the world's best.
It will have to be Rashad Evans.
While many fans are clamoring for a Silva vs. Georges St-Pierre or Silva vs. Jon Jones matchup, Silva vs. Evans makes the most sense, and it would result in the most competitive fight.
As I alluded to in a previous article, Rashad Evans would serve as Anderson Silva's greatest test to date and could very well dethrone the middleweight king.
Just think with me for a second (or minute.)
What beats Anderson Silva?
I think we can all agree that Silva's kryptonite is a wrestler with dominate top position. Chael Sonnen, Travis Lutter and Dan Henderson have all found success employing this tactic against "The Spider," and Rashad Evans certainly has this skillset in spades.
Add in his 220 lb. frame, and Rashad would be a huge middleweight capable of using his wrestling and size to control the champion.
Aside from this, Rashad has one-punch knockout power in his fists and his shins, and his experience, game planning and coaching is absolutely top notch.
I am not sure if anybody can put Anderson away on the feet, but I like Rashad's chances more than anybody's. Sure, Silva has faced (and avoided) the H-bomb, but Evans brings a more multi-faceted attack that can come from different angles with the same devastating fury.
Silva is the best striker in the UFC ever, bar none, but Evans can at least provide the dangers that might make Silva think twice before unleashing his creative genius.
This could cause Silva to be hesitant, the perfect time for Evans to shoot and employ his ground and pound tactics.
These stylistic matchups already make this a super fight for the ages, but when you consider the other possible super fight matchups, it is even better.
Silva vs. GSP is not competitive, I'm sorry folks. Silva's striking and takedown defense is too good, and GSP isn't dangerous enough to finish him even if he can get him down.
On the ground, Silva either gets up or submits GSP, and on the feet, he easily knocks him out. Matt Serra outclassed GSP on the feet in their first matchup; just imagine what Silva would do.
Factor in the weight difference (Silva walks around at 220, GSP at 190,) and this fight would not live up to the hype and would instead be a total disappointment.
Now, the other matchup, Silva vs. Jones, is the same story written in different ink.
Just as Silva would be too much for GSP to handle, Jon Jones would be too much for Anderson to handle.
If we are talking about exceptional wrestling in the UFC, we are talking about Jon Jones. I'm not trying to take anything away from GSP's own incredible wrestling inside the Octagon, but Jon Jones' throws, timing and leverage make him a nearly unstoppable force in the wrestling department.
What really sets Jones apart, though, is his ability to finish. In his recent string of title defenses against the world's best light heavyweights, he was unable to finish only one man (that was, fittingly enough, Rashad Evans.)
Jones possesses brutal ground and pound, an impressive array of submissions and the size and strength to control Silva once he is on his back.
Imagine Chael Sonnen's control only with a much, much more creative and offensive attack. That is how the fight would go for Jon Jones. Personally, as a Silva fan, I am not interested in that.
So, that leaves Rashad Evans as a potential fit for a super fight with Anderson Silva.
Evans possesses the dangerous attack, experience and confidence to make this fight a classic, and it is one that the UFC has to put together.
The middleweight division is cleaned out, and nobody is left to truly threaten the reign of Mr. Silva.
"Suga" needs to make the cut to middleweight; a matchup with the greatest fighter in the world looms.