Roy Jones, Jr. isn't certain that a highly publicized bout with UFC superstar Anderson Silva will come to fruition, but he prepared himself for the potential bout by defeating Zine Eddine Benmakhlouf via unanimous decision in Moscow, Russia, on Saturday, Dec. 21.
According to Martin Domin of the Daily Mail, Jones' motivation for the bout was to make sure he's not rusty for a potential date with Silva:
"I want to be ready for Anderson Silva in case he beats Weidman," said Jones before the fight. "Silva has made it clear that if he wins, he wants me next. I'm here for him.
"That's a fight that intrigues a lot of people, but I can't fight Anderson Silva coming off such a long lay-off so I needed to get a fight first.
"If it wasn't for Anderson Silva calling me out, I wouldn't be fighting this fight."
Silva, of course, is set to take on Chris Weidman at UFC 168 in an attempt to avenge his only loss under the UFC banner. A win for The Spider would give him the UFC Middleweight Championship back once again, but according to Jones, it's a crossover match with the boxing star that he'll want.
UFC President Dana White admitted on a Dec. 4 broadcast of Fox Sports Live that if Silva defeats Weidman on Dec. 28, he'll have to consider endorsing a crossover bout between the two:
These two drive me crazy. They drive me crazy. First of all, Roy Jones Jr. is a longtime friend of mine. When I was a 19-year-old kid in the boxing business, Roy Jones was very good to me. So I'm in this position where I feel like Roy wants to fight him, he wants to fight Roy—I feel like I'm in this position to try to make both of these guys happy. But it drives me crazy. I would love Roy Jones Jr. to focus on his next opponent and Anderson to focus on his. We'll talk about all this stuff. I know Roy's coming to the fight. ... We'll see what happens.
Jones Jr. certainly did his part to build intrigue for the potential fight. Even at his advanced age of 44 years old, he thoroughly defeated Benmakhlouf for the WBU Cruiserweight title. Jones Jr. won on all three cards by scores of 120-108, 120-107 and 118-111, per Domin.
Now with the Silva vs. Weidman rematch set to take place a week later, fans are a Silva win away from one of the more interesting sideshow matchups in combat sports.
The age-old debate of how an MMA fighter and boxer would fare in crossover fights has been waged since the rise of MMA. We've already seen how a world champion boxer fares in the Octagon when James Toney lost to Randy Couture by submission in Round 1 at UFC 118.
Now we may see how a world champion MMA fighter will do when tested by a world-class boxer. Given Silva's striking prowess in the cage and Jones Jr.'s advanced age, it is at the very least an interesting proposition.
However, all of this seems to be dependent on a Silva victory over Weidman on Dec. 28. Given Weidman's second-round TKO victory over Silva at UFC 162, that's far from guaranteed.
Time will tell if fans ever get to see this interesting crossover bout.
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