Anderson Silva isn't acting much like a champion these days, according to Dan Henderson.
The legendary MMA star believes Silva is "manipulating" the UFC to avoid certain fights and keep his perfect UFC record intact.
Spencer Lazara of MMAInterviews.TV sat down with Henderson recently to get his true feelings on the top pound-for-pound fighter in the world. Henderson said:
I think Anderson, for the last five years, has tried to pick and choose who he fights and manipulates the UFC a little bit. He didn't want to fight Chael [Sonnen] again after the first time, and obviously he did after a while. But he didn't want to fight me again.
He kind of tries to stay away from guys who have a dangerous style for him, and especially I think he's looking towards the end of his career and he wants to retire without losing again. It's not necessarily how a champ should be, but at the same time, he's trying to be smart about things. It's all debatable.
One fighter who would definitely agree with Henderson is top middleweight contender Chris Weidman.
Despite an undefeated professional record and a five-fight UFC win streak, Weidman is still forced to beg and plead Silva for a title shot. He has even offered to fight Silva in Brazil and give him an immediate rematch at Madison Square Garden in New York City if he pulls off the upset.
Still, the Silva camp refuses to show any interest in the fight. They have called out just about every other fighter at the top of the middleweight division but Weidman, who is obviously the most deserving contender.
This was the same situation for Sonnen after he nearly defeated Silva for the middleweight title at UFC 117. After having his requests for a rematch denied, Sonnen went on one of the most unforgettable verbal campaigns in MMA history.
Yahoo! Sports reported that Sonnen insulted Silva's family, country and teammates at a press conference in April of 2012. Instead of accepting the challenge, Silva actually pleaded for the UFC not to give Sonnen a title shot. He felt Sonnen's actions were disrespectful and didn't warrant a shot at UFC gold. In the end, UFC President Dana White put his foot down, and Sonnen was granted a rematch.
Henderson has also campaigned for a rematch with Silva. He was submitted by the Brazilian in the second round of their March 2008 title bout, and he has been seeking redemption ever since. Henderson told Lazara:
[Anderson] is probably the only guy I would drop [weight] for, but I think that I'm very comfortable at 205 and there's plenty of guys for me to fight there. We'll see what happens in the future, but I don't plan on losing at 205 at all.