Anderson Silva: Future Opposition
Anderson Silva will face Forrest Griffin at UFC 101, a fight that has gotten many fans talking immediately.
This co-main event already looks to be overshadowing the lightweight title fight between BJ Penn and Kenny Florian.
Win or lose, what happens next for the Spider? If Griffin breaks his UFC win streak, he will most likely go back to defending his middle weight title.
However, if he wins will he stick around the light-heavyweight picture a little longer?
Will he keep jumping back and forth between the two weight classes, or will he vacate his middleweight title in pursuit of light-heavyweight gold?
Regardless of which route Anderson Silva takes, there are many opponents waiting for their shot at the pound-for-pound king.
First let's talk about potential middleweight title contenders, then we'll move onto the light-heavyweights.
Nate Marquardt is no stranger to Anderson Silva, as he already faced him for the middleweight title at UFC 73.
He was just 10 seconds shy of lasting the entire first round, losing by TKO at the 4:50 mark of round one.
Marquardt has a black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, and is a seven time Pancrase champion. In his last two bouts, however, he showed us his ever improving stand up game.
It took Marquardt only one minute and 22 seconds to dispatch of Martin Kampmann, and he won a three round war against Wilson Gouveia; both TKO victories.
Marquardt is set to face Demian Maia at UFC 102, and with a victory he will find himself as the No. 1 contender to Anderson Silva's title.
Demian Maia has a perfect record, with 11 victories and no defeats.
Of his five UFC fights, he has one all by choke, three of which were in the first round.
It has surfaced recently that many people believe Maia is the man to beat Silva due to his impressive ground game.
The UFC is more than likely very wary of putting Silva in the cage with Maia though, after his lack-luster title defense against Thales Leites at UFC 97.
If Maia defeats Marquardt at UFC 102, however, the UFC is going to have a hard time denying him his shot at Anderson Silva.
Dan Henderson, like Marquardt, has faced Silva for his middleweight title once before. Anderson Silva submitted him via choke with only eight seconds left of Round 2.
Henderson is the only fighter in the UFC that can claim that he's really won a round against Silva, as he controlled him on the ground for the majority of round one. He never inflicted any serious damage, however.
Henderson won his last two bouts by decision, most notably defeating Rich Franklin.
He now finds himself as a coach on The Ultimate Fighter, with a match against opposing coach Michael Bisping on the horizon.
With a win over Bisping, Henderson could easily be back in the title picture, with a chance to avenge his loss to the Spider.
Michael Bisping has become the spearhead of the UFC's marketing campaign into England.
He is the coach of the UK portion of the Ultimate Fighter Series, and has yet to lose in the middleweight division.
Since his move from light-heavy weight to middleweight, Bisping tko'd his first two opponents (Day and McCarthy) with impressive first round stoppages. He most recently went the distance against Chris Leben, winning a unanimous decision.
Many people have criticized Bisping, as he has not faced top contenders, and received an extremely controversial split decision victory over Matt Hamill. That fight took place in England...
With a win over Henderson he can at least claim the first criticism to be untrue, and he will most likely receive a title shot.
The Light-Heavy Weight Picture
It's not too difficult to come up with Anderson Silva's future middleweight opponents, as he holds the middleweight title.
However, the light-heavyweight picture gets a bit more clouded, as he can face many top contenders at this juncture.
Also the UFC 98 bout between Rashad Evans and Lyoto Machida weighs in heavily on the issue, because if Machida wins the belt than Silva will more than likely be fighting just to further his pound for pound status, as opposed to looking for a title shot.
Regardless some opponents that would be good for Silva at light-heavyweight would be Shogun, Rampage, and Evans.
All of these fighters are near the top of the food chain, and all of these fighters would ensure that Silva doesn't dance and showboat his way to victory.
MMA fans would be thrilled to see Silva face any of these men, and they will further his legacy and pound for pound status if he is victorious.
The UFC wins, Silva wins (unless he loses of course), and we the fans win.
Also, if Machida loses at UFC 98, Rampage and Evans will fight for the title. If Silva were to face either of these men for the light-heavyweight title that would be of epic proportions. Dare I say, "Superfight?"
GSP - The Super-fight
We've already heard speculation of the super-fight between GSP and Anderson Silva, and with a limited number of fighters left on Silva's contract we may get to witness it.
Silva is viewed as the middleweight king, GSP as the welterweight king. This fight would be marketed like GSP/Penn II, and it would be huge.
Both fighters have a lot to gain, and a lot to lose. GSP has cemented his spot as number 3 in the pound for pound rankings since his destruction of Penn. Penn has fallen towards the bottom ten if not completely off the list following the match.
Sitting just above GSP is Anderson Silva (on most lists, some may have him at number one), and a fight between the two would cement either one as number two without a doubt, or move Anderson Silva to the number one spot on more P4P lists. In contrast the loser may fall a few spots on the list.
Another possible loss/gain from this would be if there is a title on the line. Would the fight take place at welterweight for GSP's title, middleweight for Silva's title, or a catch weight with no title's up for grabs?
Regardless this match-up epitomizes a super-fight, and if it comes to fruition it could go down as one of the biggest fights in MMA history.
Whichever road Anderson Silva takes, we can only hope he has his head on straight and comes to fight.
If he moves up to light-heavyweight and pursues the title, we will see the Anderson Silva that took the UFC middleweight division by storm.
If Silva keeps defending his middleweight title we can only hope he returns to his destructive form, as opposed to the passive-aggressive fighter we saw in his last two outings.
We can all keep our fingers crossed for a super-fighter, and I don't see a better final fight for Silva's UFC contract than Silva vs. GSP.