Anderson Silva's Next Fight: If Not Weidman, Then Who?

Andrew Saunders@SaundersMMACorrespondent IIJuly 7, 2013

Anderson Silva's Next Fight: If Not Weidman, Then Who?

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    At UFC 162, Chris Weidman stunned the MMA world with a single left hand. That is all it took to send the elusive Anderson Silva plummeting to the canvas like a sack of potatoes and capture the UFC middleweight championship.

    Immediately following the matchup, Anderson met with Joe Rogan inside the Octagon. That is where the former champion made a shocking announcement: Despite not being ready to retire from the sport, Anderson Silva is not interested in a rematch.

    Silva isn't ready to stop competing but isn't looking to meet Weidman in his return bout. That raises an important question: If not Weidman, then who?

    In this article, we will take a look at four of the best and most entertaining possibilities for Silva's opponent when he returns to the cage.

Michael Bisping

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    The Ultimate Fighter winner Michael Bisping has been calling out Anderson Silva for years. On multiple occasions, a matchup between the two seemed like a real possibility. However, Bisping lost a trio of title eliminators that prevented the fight from occurring. 

    Now that Silva is free to compete against anyone he chooses, it's time for The Count to put up or shut up. 

    Silva versus Bisping would be an incredible main event for a card in the U.K. later this year. 

Cung Le

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    When talking about the best pure strikers in mixed martial arts, fans are likely to mention the names of both Anderson Silva and Cung Le.

    Le used his incredible taekwondo and karate to win national championships throughout the '90s. After a successful transition to MMA, Le was able to wrap the Strikeforce middleweight championship around his waist.

    There is no question that Anderson enjoys feeling challenged inside the Octagon. When he knows that his opponent poses a serious threat in the striking department, he doesn't play any games. Instead, he focuses on going in for the kill.

    Currently, Le has only one unavenged loss on his record and is coming off of a stunning knockout victory against Rich Franklin.

    Before you start screaming about Le not being a worthy opponent, you must keep something in mind: Silva not being interested in fighting for a championship again allows us to ignore the fact that Le isn't ranked.

Shogun Rua

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    Ever since Shogun Rua captured the UFC light heavyweight championship from Silva's teammate, Lyoto Machida, a matchup between the two has been desired.

    Silva has dipped his toe into the 205-pound waters before and had tremendous success there. Perhaps he is ready to make a permanent move to the division.

    Currently, Shogun is scheduled to meet Chael Sonnen in an August matchup. Should the former PRIDE star come out with his arm raised, a fight with Silva would be a blockbuster.

Rashad Evans

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    At UFC 156, Rashad Evans took on Antonio Nogueira in a light heavyweight contest. Prior to the matchup, there was speculation that "Suga" was looking for a move to middleweight in order to challenge Anderson Silva for the belt.

    Unfortunately for Evans, he gave a flat-footed performance and slammed the door on the potential matchup with a unanimous-decision loss.

    While a fight between Silva and Evans would have sold tremendously, the TUF winner seemed unsure about whether or not a move to middleweight was something that his body could truly handle. 

    Keeping in mind the potential that Silva could move up to light heavyweight, this fight would be contested on even ground at 205 pounds.