Anderson Silva: Fight Machida Or Stay At 185

Justin FauxCorrespondent IAugust 15, 2009

Anderson "The Spider Silva" first made a name for himself in the MMA world in Pride FC with victories over the likes of Jeremy Horn and Carlos Newton but his real boost to the top of the world came when he picked apart the UFC's middleweight division defeating Chris Leben, Rich Franklin (twice), Travis Lutter, Nate Mardquart, and Dan Henderson which gave him almost a un-human superman status the likes only seen by Fedor Emelianenko.

At UFC Fight Night 14 Anderson Silva made his light heavyweight debut on free to air TV against James Irvin whom at the time was coming off a decisive eight second KO over Houston Alexander and despite the move up to light heavyweight Silva looked as dominate as ever knocking out Irvin in a little over a minute and boosting that superman status even further and by many considered pound for pound the best in the world.

Then that superman status was tested in two disappointing performances against Patrick Cote & Thales Leites back at his home weight which made many question whether he was the best.

This past weekend at UFC 101: Declaration, Anderson Silva comainevented facing off against top light heavyweight Forrest Griffin which he decisively won in 3:22 and looked as dominate as ever, squashing theories that he was over-rated or didn't still have it in him to show that aggression that made him one of the most brutal knockout artists in the UFC.

Lyoto "The Dragon" Machida first made a name for himself defeating fighters the likes of Stephan Bonnar, Rich Franklin, and BJ Penn in shows throughout Japan and Brazil then with all the hype around him after defeating some of the UFC's top names he made the transition to the UFC in early 2007.

Machida had a string of unanimous decision victories over Sam Hoger, David Heath, and Kazuhiro Nakamura, however, many questioned whether he could finish fights or simply rack up the points on the judges score cards.

At UFC 79 he faced his toughest challenge in his UFC career in Sokodjou in which Sokodjou did minimal damage and got frustrated with Machida's style before getting submitted but not many took Machida seriously as a top contender in the light heavyweight division until he faced Tito Ortiz at UFC 84 and pulled out a decisive decision victory.

Then came another big challenge in the tough Brazilian ,whom was also undefeated at the time, Thiago Silva and he knocked him out very late in the first round.

Now that the world was beginning to get behind Machida and really saw him as the next big thing in the light heavyweight divsion all he needed was a shot at the champion "Sugar" Rashad Evans and due to Quentin Jackson being forced out of the fight he got his shot to step up and fight for the gold at UFC 98 in which he won via KO in the second round.

Now following Silva's step up to light heavyweight many questioned whether he is willing to step up and face the champion Lyoto Machida. However, both Machida and Silva have stated that they will not fight as they are training partners and personal friends and place their friendship in higher regard than a championship or potential big money fight.

So the question becomes what is the purpose for Silva stepping up to 205 if he has no real desire to be the Champion at that weight class. I mean, it’s not exactly a big money draw to see Silva fight at light heavyweight because Anderson Silva in reality is not a big name draw the likes of a Chuck Liddell or Tito Ortiz, despite a string of victories defeating the top level of competition that the UFC has to offer.

Basically, Silva sees this as a test for himself which is great but as a hypothetical scenario here: let’s just say that Silva defends his middleweight championship against Dan Henderson later this year then makes the transition up to 205 again and starts picking off top contenders. For instance, if he faced the loser of the Rashad Evans and Quentin Jackson fight and knocks them out and after Lyoto Machida likely defeats Mauricio "Shogun" Rua, Anderson steps in and defeats Rua as well then we have a number of top contenders in UFC's light heavyweight division right now knocked significantly down the ladder for no apparent reason because Silva doesn't want to fight his teammate and training partner.

Also, you have to look towards the impact that this would have on the middleweight division as Anderson Silva is still the No. 1 ranked middleweight in the world and UFC's middleweight champion. There are a number of hungry challengers whom have their eye on Silva in the stacked weight class such as Dan Henderson, Nate Mardquart, Demian Maia, and Vitor Belfort, whom will all be put on hold if Anderson makes frequent visits to 205.

Now don't get me wrong: I am not excited about seeing Anderson Silva vs Lyoto Machida nor do I even want to see that fight as these are two counter strikers who aren't willing to hunt down their opponents. so it wouldn't be the most exciting of fights and out of the "super-fights" available at this time it would be the one I'm least excited to see. But the impact that this would have on both the 185 and 205 weight classes is unquestionable.

The only two outcomes here that wont hurt both weight classes in the UFC is for Anderson Silva to make the transition to 205 permanently and relinquish the middleweight championship in which he must be willing to put friendship aside and fight Lyoto Machida or stay at 185 and face the top challengers there who have their eye on taking away his gold.