Unless you have been living under a proverbial rock, then you are familiar with Anderson Silva’s next opponent. It is none other then former light heavyweight champion Forrest Griffin.
In a recent interview, Forrest was asked if he took the fight with Silva as a shortcut toward getting back into a title fight.
His response, “I just want to show up prepared and actually fight the guy. I just don’t think anyone has actually tried to fight him up to their ability."
His response is exactly what the UFC brass had in mind when picking Forrest as Silva’s next opponent.
They wanted a fighter who would actually fight Silva; an opponent who would give the fans what they want, the chance to see Silva fight the best the UFC has to offer.
Whether you think Forrest is the best or not is immaterial. The fact is, Silva will be fighting a former UFC light heavyweight champion in what will be his first real test at 205. No offense to James Irvin.
Since fans of any sport love to think about the consequences of an event, before it has even happened, it's worth exploring what the fallout from an Anderson Silva win would be like.
Back to the aforementioned notion that a Forrest Griffin win would expedite him back into the 205-pound title picture. That same notion would certainly hold true for Anderson Silva.
Bear in mind, the UFC will is now hard pressed to keep Silva’s eye on the prize, which is displaying his striking show inside the octagon.
If Silva wins, he is likely one win away from a light heavyweight title shot. But before you get to keen on the concept, consider there are a few roadblocks lying across Silva’s road to the light heavyweight title.
The first roadblock would be Silva’s next opponent. Timing will be the key in determining who that would be. Keep in mind Silva is fighting Forrest at UFC 101 on Aug. 8. His next fight would be likely on UFC 104 or 105. The UFC will want to be very calculated in their choice.
Having the winner of the Rich Franklin-Wanderlei Silva fight, at UFC 99, would be an intriguing option. A scrap with Franklin would complete their trilogy.
Silva shell-shocked Franklin, not once but twice, in their previous middleweight title fights so would a third fight at light heavyweight be both spirited and relevant to the division?
A war of words between the two Silva’s has broken out as of late. Wanderlei has said he would love to get into the octagon with Anderson because he feels “The Spider” has been disrespectful with his recent performances. If anyone would force Anderson to be exciting, and fight for his life, it would be Wanderlei.
Other worthy opponents could be hard-hitting Luis Cane or a reinvented Shogun Rua, both coming off UFC 97 wins. Their have been some words exchanged between Rua and Silva so perhaps the UFC should make that fight happen and give the winner to Silva, if he beats Griffin.
Again, timing is a key in determining who Silva would fight next. One man who is unlikely as an option is Quinton “Rampage” Jackson, who will be waiting in the wings to take on the winner of Machida vs. Evans, likely to happen sometime after UFC 102.
The second roadblock is Lyoto Machida, set to take on current title holder Rashad Evans at UFC 98. If Machida is the more elusive fighter, and takes the belt, he would seemingly derail Silva’s train to title town.
That’s because Silva has stated he would never fight his friend and former training partner inside the octagon. While Dana White is influential; good night, and good luck.
A best case scenario of the UFC might be for Machida to lose, then set up a Rashad Evans vs. Jackson title fight, and finally have Silva fight the winner of that fight, given he wins his fight before that potential title fight.
A third roadblock would be the fact that Anderson Silva still holds the UFC’s middleweight belt. At some point, the competition will rise and won’t want to wait too long for title shot.
For an example, see Kenny Florian in the lightweight division. Florian will have gone nearly nine months between his last fight and the now-confirmed title fight with B.J. Penn at UFC 101.
If Silva beats Griffin, on that UFC 101 fight card, should the UFC have him relinquish the middleweight belt so that division can move on? A lot will be determined by the outcome of Machida-Evans and who is holding the belt after UFC 98.
If Silva were to vacate the belt, and remain in the light heavyweight division, the best scenario would be for the winner of the Dan Henderson-Michael Bisping fight, at UFC 100, to take on the winner of Demian Maia-Nate Marquardt fight, at UFC 102.
No one would hesitate to call the man who emerges from that mini-tournament the best middleweight not named Anderson Silva. That winner should and will walk away with either a title shot or the title itself, if vacated by Silva. Stay tuned to see how it all plays out.
One scenario not yet mentioned is: what if Silva loses? Recall, Forrest Griffin is a former light heavyweight champion.
So if Forrest wins, Anderson is humbled and goes back to a middleweight fight with whichever aforementioned fighter is waiting for a title shot.
Or he can stay at light heavyweight and tough it out. And there is always that “superfight” with George St. Pierre that a fan or two might want to see.
The future for Anderson Silva looks more competitive and complicated than ever.