Anderson Silva has finally run out of excuses for not fighting Chris Weidman.
One by one, every obstacle standing in Weidman's way has been eliminated from the equation.
Michael Bisping, Hector Lombard, Tim Boetsch and Alan Belcher have all fallen in their bid for middleweight supremacy. In a way, it feels like Weidman has been touched by the hand of fate. Even a proposed super fight between Silva and Rashad Evans couldn't stand in the way.
Silva has expressed little interest in defending his belt against Weidman, who has been campaigning for a title shot ever since knocking out Mark Munoz in July 2012.
In an interview with CageFanatic.com, Ed Soares, Silva's manager, was adamant about the search for marquee fights. While Weidman is a great talent, Soares feels like the 28-year-old prodigy needs more fights to build his name before granting him a UFC title shot.
Luckily for Weidman, the decision isn't up to Silva or Soares. UFC President Dana White finally gave a definitive answer on who fans can expect to see Silva step into the Octagon against later this year:
"I would have to say yes, [Chris Weidman is next for Anderson Silva]," said White at the post-fight press conference for UFC 156. "Going into this fight anyway we wanted to wait, we wanted to see what happens, and I liked Weidman for this fight anyway, so yeah."
The details surrounding the title bout have yet to be ironed out. Silva was hoping to return to action around April, but the date could get pushed back. Weidman is just now getting back into the swing of things after undergoing surgery on his right shoulder.
Stylistically, Weidman presents a lot of interesting challenges for Silva, but things are never quite so simple when dealing with the top pound-for-pound fighter in the world.
Be careful what you wish for.