"I'll retire next year, I already gave my all. I don't need to prove anything for anyone and within one year I'll put my gloves aside."
-- Anderson Silva, from In The Guard via SporTV.
Say it ain't so, Silva.
It appears the middleweight champ of the UFC isn't looking to make a semi-permanent habitat at light heavyweight, heavyweight, or welterweight.
He wants to stay at middleweight and hopes to retire at that weight.
There go my hopes of Silva Vs. Shogun ever actually happening.
I won't complain too long, and I won't turn on the waterworks about it. If Silva is uninterested in a jump up in weight, or a drop down in weight, that's not a problem.
You have to do what's best for you, and staying at middleweight is probably what's best for him...or is it?
See, I know people give Anderson Silva a hot case of criticism for his past three defenses of the belt, and I'm not saying they shouldn't, but retirement?
Sure, every time you turn away, there's someone else hungry and waiting to get the belt, but if Silva beats Chael Sonnen and then he does the seemingly impossible by beating Vitor Belfort, there's really no one to put him up against.
Unless you can make a claim that says Patrick Cote would have destroyed him had that knee injury never happened.
Nate Marquardt didn't get injured, but he didn't exactly finish off Silva either.
James Irvin and Forrest Griffin are two of the sport's most dangerous fighters, and Silva wiped Irvin out in a minute and 25 seconds, then back-pedalled away just so Forrest could walk into a crazy right hand that probably hurt more than it appeared.
See a pattern here?
Aside from Cote, Thales Leites, and Demian Maia, every opponent Anderson Silva has faced—whether the belt was at stake or not—has been dominated.
Actually, half of the MMA Nation worldwide can argue that Maia was dominated, while others may say that Maia could have come back in the fifth and finished Silva.
The point is, Silva has beaten all but two hungry contenders in the middleweight division, and after he beats them both, where is he going to go?
I mean, it seems like Dana White won't have to worry about cutting Silva if Sonnen is beaten by anything other than a decision, so I say as long as there's a deep pool at light heavyweight, go for it.
Besides, if you remember, friends outside the cage have fought inside of it as well.
Andre Winner vs. Ross Pearson.
Pete Sell vs. Scott Smith
Tito Ortiz vs. Matt Hamill is going to happen at UFC 121.
What's the worst that could happen if getting to Shogun means going through Lyoto Machida?
I understand White probably won't be able to threaten both guys with their careers for choosing not to fight, but that's just the nature of the business.
Friends sometimes have to fight friends to get their shot.
Besides Machida, Rogerio Nogueira, and Shogun, the division isn't exactly a shallow one either.
Silva will never at a loss for competition, and he has every opportunity to grow as a fighter even if he does lose a fight along the way.
If it were me in his shoes, I might want to think of one other thing:
Shogun beat my boy (Machida)—convincingly—and took the UFC Light Heavyweight title not just away from him, but from the Black House squad that helped him train his tail off to earn that shot.
Even if Silva doesn't face Machida along the way, that loss ought to be avenged no matter what kind of athlete Shogun is.
Lest we forget, a certain light heavyweight is being compared to Silva stylistically, so no one can say that Anderson isn't still a flashy fighter.
If it's age or some other thing settling in that's causing Silva to second-guess a jump, then I'd understand.
When you need to hang them up, you need to hang them up.
The thing is, Silva doesn't look like he's ready to call it a career.
A jump to 205 or 265 would still be electrifying to see not only because of the fights involved, but because it might also give those still doubtful about Silva's "pound-for-pound throne" a chance to see him shine in other divisions and prove that he is the king.
Say that he should or say that he shouldn't, but he doesn't look like he should now—even if Sonnen does beat Silva next Saturday at UFC 117.
In a few years? Perhaps then we can talk about Silva retiring.
For right now?
I say let The Spider keep spinning his web.