Anderson Silva: 7 Fighters Who May Have a Shot at Defeating the Spider
Photo by Mark J. Rebilas-US PRESSWIRE
Anderson Silva disposed of Chael Sonnen at UFC 148, sending the American fighter tumbling down the middleweight divisional ladder, creating some space near the top.
Though it is just fresh on the market, there is no shortage of capable 185-pounders vying for the vacated real estate, all of whom hold aspirations of dethroning MMA's pound-for-pound best.
The following is a list of seven fighters who have the best chance of realizing that aspiration in the near future.
After last night's performance, this list may come across as unreasonably long—but just keep in mind that it contains fighters who have a shot at defeating Anderson Silva, not all of whom have a great chance of defeating Silva.
Michael Nagle/Getty Images
Belcher is a nasty striker and one of the few human beings who may be able to give Silva trouble in the stand-up game.
With a sprawling Muay Thai arsenal of well-refined weapons, Belcher is a hitman when striking. Few would rate him above Silva in this regard, but there are few who should come between the two on anyone's list.
In addition to his impressive striking, Belcher displayed a jaw-dropping grappling game by out-maneuvering Rousimar Palhares on the mat in his last contest.
Jon Kopaloff/Getty Images
Granted, it was only for about three minutes and 25 seconds, but Belfort was getting the better of Silva in the stand-up when the two faced off last August.
Then he got knocked out with a front kick to the jaw.
The end result kind of culls the enthusiasm grown by Belfort's early success, but that doesn't mean he is incapable of giving Silva fits for a longer duration, should the two rematch sometime.
Belfort is the only middleweight in the UFC who would enter a match against Silva with no great perceived disadvantage on the feet.
Mark Kolbe/Getty Images
Bisping fights a lot like Silva does, though not as effectively. That isn't a knock on the talented Brit; no-one looks good when juxtaposed with Silva.
So why is he on the list? Because there is no logic in MMA.
Sometimes certain guys just have the perfect style to beat fighters who seem superior to them in every way. Perhaps Bisping has the key to finally unlock the Silva enigma.
Besides being one of the few top contenders Silva has not already defeated, Bisping is a legitimate threat to anyone in the middleweight division.
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images
Evans has the best chance of anyone on this list, but also the worst. The best because of his skill-set, the worst because he fights at 205 pounds.
Though a member of a different weight class, Evans has expressed interest in fighting Silva in the past. The move seems possible from a physical stand point, as Evans is currently one of the smaller 205-pounders on the UFC roster.
If Evans dropped down to middleweight, he would bring devastating power, unlimited cardio and outstanding wrestling along with him.
Evans possesses a combination of talents and ability that would be troublesome for any opponent, and his wrestling strength makes him particularly dangerous to Silva.
Photo via sherdog.com
With one-punch knockout power, a deadly clinch that takes opponents from vertical to horizontal in no time flat and the ability to eat a punch when needed, Hector Lombard brings new blood to the UFC, though he may end up spilling a lot of the old while he's here.
Lombard debuts against Tim Boetsch this July at UFC 149, and a win may earn him a title shot, though he may need an additional victory first.
Lombard recently vacated Bellator's middleweight championship title to test his mettle in the UFC.
Photo by mmajunkie.com
Before warranting consideration for a title fight, Mark Munoz will have to beat uber-prospect Chris Weidman this Wednesday at UFC on Fuel TV 4.
Munoz does not have the stand-up game to hang with Silva on the feet, but he is a strong wrestler capable of taking nearly any 185-pounder to the mat.
Once there, Munoz employs some of the sport's most vicious ground-and-pound around.
Photo via mmamania.com
Silva may be 2-0 against Chael Sonnen, but he has struggled mightily in six-of-seven rounds the two adversaries have shared.
The troubles Silva has had with Sonnen stem from the latter's excellent takedowns and ground control; two attributes Weidman happens to possess.
With only eight fights to his name, Weidman is still green as a mixed martial artist, but his ceiling is as high as anyone's in the sport.
With a win over Mark Munoz at UFC on Fuel TV 4, Weidman may find himself on the fast-track to a title shot.