Anderson Silva has everything to gain and nothing to lose.
The Spider is coming off of a huge victory over Chael Sonnen in UFC 148 in which he recorded a TKO in the second round. It'd be in Silva’s best interest to make his next matchup against Jon Jones.
When asked if he still had the motivation to fight middleweight in the post-fight press conference, Silva responded (via UFC.com):
Yes I still have the motivation. What motivates me is to be involved in the sport, like being involved in the weigh-ins yesterday that broke all the records and it's always motivating to be among the top athletes out here.
But when questioned on a potential fight with Jones, he answered, “Nope.”
At 24 years old, Bones has a major youth advantage over the 37-year-old Silva. Jones has yet to take a loss in his professional mixed martial arts career outside of an illegal-elbow strikes disqualification and would be favored in the dream matchup.
But that shouldn’t stop Silva from fighting him.
If Jones wins, so what? He’s 13 years younger. Such a victory would prove nothing in the big picture of things.
And if you look at the big picture, it’s Jones who shouldn’t want to fight Silva. While Jones is still young, it’s safe to say that each competitor will go down as a UFC legend. If Silva were to defeat Jones despite being over a decade older than him, he would forever be remembered as the superior fighter.
That isn’t something a legacy is capable of overcoming. Jones could go undefeated the rest of his career, but no one would be able to ever label him a better fighter than Silva if the veteran beat him with retirement on his radar.
Silva is riding 16 straight victories. It isn’t like fighting Jones is suicide. Silva would be against the odds, but he’d definitely still have a shot at knocking him off.
Not that he needs it, but a win would do wonders for his legacy. A loss does nothing. It wouldn’t be wise to pass up such a golden opportunity.
David Daniels is a featured columnist at Bleacher Report and a syndicated writer.