Dana White on Silva Fighting Mousasi: 'Gus Is Still Fighting!'
UPDATE: Seems like this was an April Fools' joke after all, as per updated tweet from Wandy:
I catch you wand the best April first ever!! But I would like this to be true!!! O melhor primeiro de… instagram.com/p/Xmr70Dkq4A/— Wanderlei Silva (@wandfc) April 2, 2013
Wanderlei Silva seems to have pulled off the MMA April Fools' prank-of-the-day Monday after he suggested that he would step in to replace Swedish MMA fighter Alexander Gustafsson against UFC light heavyweight newcomer Gegard Mousasi.
Gustafsson, a rising star in the 205-pound division, was due to welcome the former Strikeforce and DREAM light heavyweight champion, Mousasi, to the UFC on the next UFC on Fuel TV event taking place Saturday in Stockholm, Sweden. But on Sunday, it was widely reported that the hometown boy suffered a cut in training, fueling speculation that he was out of the main event.
That prompted a tweet from Silva that the promotion’s top brass had contacted him to step in and he had accepted. However, despite the fact that the claim was made on April 1 and that UFC president Dana White had already said that Gustafsson would still fight, the media continued to run with the story that Silva was practically on the plane to Sweden.
Such speculation hasn’t been helped by the MMA veteran Silva himself, who’s continued to drip-feed stories to the media that he’s getting ready for only his second bout at 205 pounds since 2008.
Indeed, Mousasi, who seems to have been out of the loop as much as anyone else, accepted the Silva fight before being told that the fight against Gustafsson was even off. He tweeted Tuesday (h/t Yahoo! Sports):
Hey mr Silva, if this is true and you are ready to fight me than I accept the fight, It's an honor for me Much respect for you.
But there could be a reality check for everyone just around the corner. On Tuesday, MMA journalist Ariel Helwani posted a message on Twitter that White himself had told him that Silva’s claims were nothing but an April Fools' joke, and the bout between Gustafsson and Mousasi was still on.
I just asked DW about Wand vs. Mousasi. His response: "Gus is still fighting! It's April fools. Stay of twitter and the net today!" :/— Ariel Helwani (@arielhelwani) April 1, 2013
That tweet is still unconfirmed by the UFC, but then so, too, is the speculated bout between Silva and Mousasi.
Silva is a legend of the sport but since 2006, has struggled to put together more than one win in a row. In 2010, to pull back from a terrible 1-5 losing record, the Brazilian dropped down a weight division, but even there he’s struggled, losing to Chris Leben and then Rich Franklin at 190 pounds catchweight.
However, last month he returned to 205 pounds to put on a superlative performance against another sometimes middleweight, sometimes light heavyweight, Brian Stann, knocking him out in the second round. The performance harked back to his glory days in Pride and was made all the sweeter that it took place in Japan where Silva made his name.
That win could have been enough to entice him back to 205 pounds permanently. However, a match against Mousasi to replace Gustafsson would be a huge step forward for Silva, as both of those fighters are currently ranked in the UFC’s Top 10 in that division and both are looking for a shot at the title.
Mousasi is undefeated in six fights and would have an unblemished record had it not been for an illegal up-kick in his match against Keith Jardine in April 2011, which cost him a draw. Gustafsson has also been on a tear, winning six straight, capped with a dominant win over former UFC champion Mauricio Rua last December.
Should the Swedish golden-boy win Saturday, he has already said that he will call out current title-holder Jon Jones. That’s if he really is still fighting.
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