In one of the most shocking moments in UFC history, Chris Weidman knocked out Anderson Silva in the second round of their bout for the middleweight championship. This marked Silva's first loss as a UFC fighter and thus ended a 69-month reign as middleweight champion.
The question is, who are Silva's potential opponents after the KO loss to Weidman?
Weidman deserves the praise he's going to receive, but anyone looking for a competitive fight was thoroughly disappointed. Silva taunted Weidman throughout, putting his hands down to take clean shots to the face and taunting the challenger to hit him harder.
It all worked out well until Weidman hit him too hard for the champion to get up.
Regardless of what happened at UFC 162, Silva will go down as, arguably, the greatest fighter in the history of the organization. From his technical prowess to his record-setting performances, few rival Silva's pure ability and career achievements.
That's exactly why his next fight could be the most important of his career—the fight in which he transitions from a champion to a legacy-building competitor.
So who should Silva face next?
USA Today recently relayed an interview from MMAJunkie.com in which Anderson Silva claimed he is "not afraid of Jon Jones." With Jones serving as the fresh new face in MMA, dominating with his speed, athleticism and strength, the comparisons between the two have inevitably arisen.
Assuming they can meet at a fair weight, why wouldn't they do it? Via USA Today, Silva told UFC Tonight:
My opinion is this: I'll fight Jon Jones, all the guys from my class, all the guys that work in the UFC – all the fighters. I respect all the fighters. I respect Jon Jones. I respect Chris Weidman, but I'm here for working.
I'm not scared of Jon Jones, or Chris Weidman or whoever. I'm here to fight. That's it. It's simple.
Well, let's hope he takes Jones more seriously than he did Weidman.
Silva has faced bigger fighters before, but Jones is arguably the most complete fighter we've ever seen. Not only are his skills on par with the best in the world, but Jones stands at 6'4" and roughly 205 pounds.
That's an athletically gifted and physically powerful body that you simply can't train.
If Jones and Silva are to come to terms, there aren't many fights that would generate as much revenue or attention. Both individuals are growing icons within the fighting world, with Silva serving as, arguably, the best the UFC has ever seen.
Why not let the past—can we even call Silva that?—meet the present?
Roy Jones Jr.
According to Dann Stupp and John Morgan of MMAJunkie.com, Silva has already picked out the opponent he'd most enjoy facing next. Surprisingly, it's not Jon Jones, Georges St-Pierre or any of the other great MMA fighters available.
It's boxing legend Roy Jones Jr. He said:
I believe a fight against Roy Jones Jr. would be much better. ... I think my legacy is already complete. I already fought around the world. I think I'm the only athlete in this sport who has four belts from four different promotions. I have the Cage Rage belt. I have the PRIDE belt from when I beat Dan Henderson in a unification bout. I also have the Shooto and UFC belts.
Well, it would certainly be interesting.
For those unfamiliar, Jones Jr. won major titles at four separate weight classes, ranging from middleweight to heavyweight. Silva, meanwhile, is 1-1 as a professional boxer, winning his most recent fight over Julio Cesar De Jesus on August 5, 2005.
Boxing has Floyd Mayweather vs. Manny Pacquiao, basketball has LeBron James vs. Kobe Bryant and mixed martial arts has Anderson Silva vs. Georges St-Pierre. Each of those meetings could one day take place on the grandest stage of them all, but none have just yet.
Perhaps it's time the UFC makes it happen.
The fight would likely generate more hype if Silva were to pick up a transitional win in between his loss to Weidman and a potential fight against St-Pierre. With that being said, we'd be remiss to ignore the truth here.
If Silva and St-Pierre were to agree to a fight, nothing would be a greater draw.
Both men are legends in mixed martial arts and, with or without a title on the line, they'd headline any pay-per-view they choose. Not only would they generate revenue and interest, but the duo would create the potential for an elite clash of the UFC titans.
Other battles may be intriguing, but this could be the stuff of legends.