While it hasn't been stated formally, it seems like a forgone conclusion that fight fans won't see a trilogy between living legend Anderson Silva and current UFC middleweight champion Chris Weidman.
Weidman won both encounters at UFC 162 and UFC 168 in decisive fashion, even though some naysayers believe both victories had a fluke feel to it.
Speaking to the Los Angeles Times on Friday, "The All-American" explained that if the 38-year-old Silva does decide to return to the Octagon after recovering from his broken leg, he can't envision fighting him a third time.
It’s a tough injury to come back from. I honestly would feel bad to fight him again. I know he’s going to be a little hesitant to kick me. He has to worry about getting knocked out. I’ve dropped him twice, knocked him out once. And I don’t know if it’d even be a fair fight to take. There has to be a lot going through his head. Got a leg broken, got knocked out, got dropped. I don’t know where he is mentally, but fighting is 90% mental.
According to the UFC's official pound-for-pound rankings, Weidman is the No. 5 fighter in the world while Silva comes in at No. 7.
The middleweight rankings also still have Silva at No. 1, right ahead of upcoming title challenger Vitor Belfort (whom Silva beat in February 2011). Belfort is expected to fight Weidman for the belt in Las Vegas in May, per ESPN.
Weidman is the only fighter to knock out Silva in 39 professional fights, and is the only competitor to best Silva twice in his 16-and-a-half-year career.
Still, the Serra-Longo Fight Team standout will continue to hear criticism due to the fact that Silva taunted him excessively during their first bout in July and the freakish nature of Silva's broken left shin during the rematch last Saturday.
Under what circumstances, if any, would Weidman vs. Silva III make sense for the UFC to book on a major pay-per-view?