The battle to legalize mixed martial arts in New York has gone on for so long that UFC president Dana White doesn't even like talking about it anymore.
For several years, whenever the subject of MMA in New York would come up, White would answer back with brimming positivity, saying over and over "this is the year" that the sport becomes legal.
Now in 2013, mixed martial arts is still banned in the state of New York, but lawmakers are fighting tooth and nail to get the legislation passed to finally bring the sport there by the end of the year.
The sport is once again up for a vote as the bill to legalize MMA in New York is currently weaving through the state Senate, and predictions are better than ever that 2013 is finally the year for the ban on MMA to be lifted.
If New York does indeed lift the ban and vote to regulate mixed martial arts over the next few weeks, the financial windfall for the state could happen as early as November with a major UFC show landing right in the heart of New York City.
Dana White has talked about bringing the UFC to Madison Square Garden for the 20th anniversary show in November, and if that happens, the city could land a dream fight for MMA fans worldwide.
In a perfect world, if White had his way, the bout that would lead the card in November would be the superfight pitting the most dominant champion in UFC history, Anderson Silva, against current light heavyweight champion Jon Jones.
"If we made that fight, and if everything went the right way – Madison Square Garden on our anniversary," White answered when asked where the Silva vs. Jones superfight would likely take place when speaking to UFC Tonight.
The UFC's 20th anniversary show has been connected to New York ever since White first mentioned the possibility in late December, and back then he hinted at a major main event, saying, "I do have the fight, but I can't tell you guys yet".
It appears that Silva vs. Jones would be just the superfight the UFC needs to headline a major card like the one it is planning for November.
Now, if New York's legislature doesn't pass the bill to legalize MMA in time, that doesn't mean the UFC's plans of a major 20th anniversary show go away. White also mentioned that places like Dallas' Cowboy Stadium, Toronto or even Brazil could host a major card like the one headlined by Silva vs. Jones.
There are still several hurdles that have to be crossed before a hypothetical Silva vs. Jones fight can even come together. First, Jon Jones has to defeat Chael Sonnen at UFC 159 in April, but if that happens, the UFC could easily allow Silva to sit out until November for the proposed bout.
White knows his middleweight champion and longest-reigning titleholder in UFC history is on board for the biggest possible fights, and there may not be a bigger one currently than facing light heavyweight king Jon Jones.
"He wants that Georges St-Pierre fight, he wants that Jon Jones fight. He wants big fights," White said.
It doesn't hurt matters much that of all the potential superfights the UFC could promote, White is on board for Silva vs. Jones as well.
"Anderson and (Jon) Jones, that's the fight I want to see," White stated.
If MMA can find a way to become fully legalized and regulated in New York, the barrier will be broken down for the UFC to finally land in the Empire State. If Jon Jones can then defeat Chael Sonnen in April, it may be time for the UFC to promote a superfight for the ages.
Damon Martin is a Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report.
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