Although his time in the UFC’s middleweight division isn’t quite up yet, champion Anderson Silva believes the weight class already houses the “next” Anderson Silva.
“I think the next champion of this category will be Nate Marquardt,” Silva recently told TATAME.com. “If I’m not over with the belt, I believe Nate will be the next champion at 185-pounds, the next guy to win for a long, long time this way.”
Although the Brazilian thoroughly trounced the talented Marquardt in their showdown at UFC 73, Silva believes “Nate the Great” has morphed into one of MMA’s best all-around fighters since their clash in July 2007.
“I’ve been following all his fights and he has evolved a lot since the last time we fought. He has evolved a lot, it’s hard, has a good feature for a fighter, evolved a lot during the fight,” explained Silva. “I believe he is the next champion in that category.”
Marquardt holds an impressive 29-8-2 record, and has won four of his last five. His sole blemish during the run came in a controversial split decision loss to Thales Leites at UFC 85, which Marquardt had well under control but was deducted penalty points on two separate occasions for illegal strikes.
On replay, it was revealed that only one of Marquardt’s shots were against the rules, however he was handed the unfavorable 28-27, 27-28, 28-27 verdict.
Silva is clearly the best 185-pounder to ever set foot inside an Octagon, and he’s a legit threat to dominate the light heavyweight class as well. MMA’s most accurate striker has rolled off 11 straight victories, finishing off 10 of those opponents before the final bell.
He’s expected to defend his title against top contender Vitor Belfort at UFC 112 in Abu Dhabi on April 10th.