At UFC 148, in one of the most anticipated fights in MMA history, Anderson Silva silenced all his critics as well as all the Chael Sonnen fans as he finished his rival Sonnen by TKO in the second round.
Silva is now 15-0 inside the Octagon and, honestly, it's hard to even question if he's the best fighter of all time.
Silva has said nothing about retirement and it appears he looks to stay in the middleweight division and defend his championship.
Here are the five men I believe could possibly threaten Anderson Silva at 185.
At UFC 126, Silva put his middleweight championship on the line against Vitor Belfort and the results came quick as Silva, in highlight-reel fashion, knocked out Belfort with a vicious front kick to the face.
The finish was very exciting, but it sort of robbed us of a great matchup. Belfort is the lone fighter to challenge Silva with speed and quickness similar to the champion.
Belfort is undefeated since his loss to Silva and one or two more big wins for Belfort could setup the rematch between the two men.
The former Bellator middleweight champion is set to face Tim Boetsch at UFC 149. A decisive victory may shoot Hector Lombard right into the No. 1 contender spot for the UFC Middleweight Championship.
While some may argue he doesn't deserve a shot, for the sake of giving someone new a shot at the belt, I'm all for Lombard getting a shot.
Lombard is a very strong middleweight, and while his striking probably is no where near the level of Anderson Silva's, Lombard's judo could present a challenge to "The Spider."
This possible fight could happen as soon as late this year and would be another big-time fight for Anderson Silva.
Yesterday, former UFC light heavyweight champion Rashad Evans emerged as a possible threat to Anderson Silva when he expressed his interest in fighting the middleweight champion.
Evans, who many consider a natural middleweight, would posses a great threat to Silva with his wrestling as well as his speed.
The only fighter who's been close to the quickness and speed of Silva is Belfort, who didn't get to fully display it. A matchup with Evans would be interesting to see how Silva would deal with the speed of Rashad while also having to be fully aware of Evans' wrestling ability.
This would likely be the closest chance to a "super fight" that we could ever get.
I know I'm going to get it for this slide, but just hear me out. I'm still on the Chael train because of the first round at UFC 148.
As we have all seen in the replay, Silva's knee was perfectly legal. I feel Silva should've been officially warned or maybe had a point deducted for grabbing Sonnen's shorts, but it most likely wouldn't had made a difference. The attempted spinning backfist was what doomed Sonnen.
What no one is talking about, though, is Sonnen's domination in the first round. He took Silva down and in about four minutes and 30 seconds worked his way from Silva's guard right into full mount as the round ended.
When the fight was stopped, I couldn't help but ask myself if it was a little premature. At UFC 117, Silva took similar punishment from Sonnen. I'm not saying it was a bad stoppage, but it does make me wonder.
What hurt Sonnen at UFC 148 was when he just ran at Silva and tried to shoot.
I highly doubt we'll ever see Silva-Sonnen III, but when trying to decide who, if anyone, could ever beat Silva, it's hard to not include the man who's came the closest to defeating him in the UFC.
We've only been dreaming about this for four or five years now. Is it ever going to happen?
Silva has cleaned out the middleweight division, and if Georges St-Pierre defeats Carlos Condit and retakes his thrown in the welterweight division, I'd say he's pretty much cleaned that division out, too.
This is the perfect matchup for both men. Time in running out, so although I still have hope we could see it in 2013, I'm no longer holding my breath.