Anderson Silva: What's Next for the UFC Middleweight Champ Following UFC 153
Anderson Silva is pretty good at this whole fighting thing.
Another opponent steps into the cage, and another one ends up turtled after a devastating volley of strikes. It just plain never gets old, and Silva is just, once again, adding to his legend as the greatest mixed martial artist of all time.
So now here we are, once again. Who is next in line for Anderson Silva?
Well, for the first time in a long time, there is not a clear-cut opponent for Anderson Silva right now. The reason for this is the swirling, prevailing, non-stop discussion about super-fights with Jon Jones and/or Georges St-Pierre. As such, there are many factors at work when it comes to asking what is next for Anderson Silva.
If, hypothetically, Anderson Silva's next fight is going to be a middleweight title bout, his next opponent is obvious. At UFC 155, Chris Weidman is facing off with Tim Boetsch in what many are assuming is a top-contender fight. Both of these fighters, more or less, have winning streaks that warrant a title shot already. Adding one more win over a fellow contender would be icing on the cake.
However, the UFC is all about making fights the fans want. When it comes to who the fans want to see Silva fight, Weidman and Boetsch are a very distant third and fourth behind GSP and Jon Jones.
Joe Rogan, during UFC 153's broadcast, relentlessly discussed a bout between Anderson Silva and Jon Jones. Fuel TV displayed a chart in their post-fight coverage showing that fans, by far, want this fight the most out of Silva.
I do not have any inside sources in the UFC offices or in fighter camps (or at least none that I'd be willing to name), but I will still say that a fight between Anderson Silva and Jon Jones is just plain never going to happen.
Who do you want to see Silva fight next?
The reasons for this are numerous and undeniable. First and foremost among them is that Jones and Silva match up very, very badly. We all know that Anderson Silva's greatest weakness is his takedown defense. Jon Jones, meanwhile, is one of the best wrestlers in the UFC.
What's more, even though Anderson Silva just demolished a big light heavyweight in Stephan Bonnar, Jon Jones is a physical mutant. He is 6'4 and has absurd quickness and powerful takedowns. We saw Chael Sonnen out-grapple Anderson Silva twice. Jones, meanwhile, has substantially heavier hands, elbows that can break a car in half and enormous size, weight and reach advantages. If you sit down and think about it, there is no way that fight would end in anything other than Jones taking Silva down and pounding on him.
A fight with Georges St-Pierre makes far more sense.
Though both he and Jones are wrestling-focused, the size difference is nearly nonexistent. St-Pierre is a big welterweight, while Anderson Silva is a relatively average middleweight. Additionally, GSP remains the single biggest PPV draw for the UFC, consistently racking up over 700,000 buys.
St-Pierre vs. Silva would be among the biggest events in MMA history, and both sides have expressed interest in this bout (compared to either side being reluctant with Jones vs. Silva). This fight makes sense on many levels, and the only thing standing in the way of that bout is Carlos Condit. Carlos Condit, however, is a very big obstacle to overcome.
St-Pierre has been as dominant as anyone, for as long as anyone, and what a loss to Carlos Condit would do to his marketability is basically impossible to predict. While Condit is regarded by many as an underdog, he is very capable of beating St-Pierre. In addition, even if St-Pierre wins, if he looks sluggish, re-injures his knee, or gases out down the stretch...who knows what impact that would have on this bout?
Either way, if Georges St-Pierre beats Carlos Condit and looks like half of his former self, the best fight to make would be Silva vs. GSP. The scheduling lines up, and the only concern would be finding a venue that can handle such a spectacle.
If GSP loses, though, it comes down to that match between Chris Weidman and Tim Boetsch, which would set up for a compelling middleweight title match.
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