It is probably unfair to ask this question so far in advance as there are still 74 days until UFC 134 in Rio takes place. The main event of that fight card will feature Anderson Silva defending his middleweight belt for the ninth time, this time against Yushin Okami.
But when you aren’t completely satisfied with a fight, your mind will tend to wander. Nothing against Okami who is a perfectly adroit fighter, boasting an impressive 10-2 record inside the Octagon with his only losses coming to Rich Franklin and Chael Sonnen.
And technically, he was the last man to beat Silva. But we all know that is “fools gold” as Silva was on his way to victory before being disqualified because of an illegal upkick. So assuming all goes according to plan, Silva will extend his record for most consecutive victories in the UFC to fourteen.
So, without sounding too disinterested, what’s next?
A whole book could be written on all the back and forth revolving around this fight so no need to digress.
If this fight happens great, but if not we will all have to move on...and at least be grateful that these two pound for pound greats not fighting is not nearly as painful as what our boxing counterparts have to suffer through with the whole Mayweather vs. Pacquiao fiasco.
That being said, what's the deal yo?
And just who might that be?
Anderson Silva has not only cleaned out the division, but he has also sent guys packing. Rich Franklin packed on some weight while Nate Marqauardt is looking to make the tough cut down to 170 pounds. Hell even guys that Silva has sent packing are sending guys packing (Marquardt sent Kampmann packing down to welterweight).
Vitor Belfort was supposed to offer a stiff test in the stand up game but got kicked into senselessness in the process. The only man who was on his way to beating Silva choked in the fifth round of their fight and is now being kept out of the sport against his wishes.
So where have all the cowboys gone? Let’s keep pushing through and see who is left standing…
It was supposed to be Michael Bisping vs. Chael Sonnen squaring off as TUF 14 coaches with the winner likely getting the next opportunity to get beat down by Silva. But Sonnen couldn’t keep his hand out of the cookie jar and is not allowed to compete inside the Octagon for the time being.
While Mayhem is a decidedly entertaining and highly skilled fighter, he is not quite at the point where the UFC would want to put him into a title fight, or, maybe they would. And while many will argue that Bisping has no business being in a title fight, the man is polarizingly popular and carries with him a better then average 7-2 record at middleweight.
Beating “Mayhem” after coming off the TUF 14 reality show and running his record to 8-2 might just be enough to justify putting him in the cage opposite Silva and say, putting that fight on in England.
In case you haven’t heard, Brian Stann is an American Hero. He has all the qualities you’d want in a fighter you’re looking to promote. With impressive wins over Chris Leben and Jorge Santiago, Stann just needs one more high profile win to garner enough momentum to get people talking about a title fight.
Enter Mark Munoz. Munoz is now 6-1 in the UFC middleweight division after his UFC 131 win over Demian Maia. A win over Stann would give him four consecutive wins which is more then enough to slide into a title fight at 185. The only problem is that Munoz trains with Anderson Silva and we have yet to see him pull a “Jon Jones” and say he would fight the “Spider.”
If Stann vs. Munoz is not the fight, then perhaps Stann can take on Wanderlei Silva (if he beats Chris Leben at UFC 132) or could even take on the Vitor Belfort- Yoshihiro Akiyama UFC 133 winner.
Tell me Silva vs. Silva doesn’t have a nice ring to it. If Silva beats Leben at UFC 132 (which is not a forgone conclusion) then it could set up a very marketable fight. The current “greatest fighter in MMA” going up against one of the true legends of the sport—who wouldn’t sign up for that?
Silva would be going into the fight with a 2-0 record at middleweight which would normally not be enough to qualify someone for a title fight…but it's Wandy, normal rules don’t apply here.
If former Strikeforce welterweight champion can come over to fight Georges St-Pierre then why can’t current middleweight champion “Jacare” Souza be brought over.
It is hard to say how well he would fair against Silva, but Souza is a jiu-jitsu stud along with being an athletic specimen whose stand up game is getting remarkably better. He might be a better version of Demian Maia at this point, and we all remember how Maia vs. Silva went down.
With GSP mulls over the move to middleweight as being a “reorientation of his career” perhaps Shields or Fitch would be a little bit more 'chomping at the bit' if they were offered a shot at Silva. Both fighters have said they would fight Silva under certain circumstances so why not now.
Fitch is not getting another title fight with GSP if Dana White has anything to do about it so that leaves him rematching B.J. Penn…unless of course Penn and Shields decide they would rather fight each other.
Regardless, neither Fitch nor Shields will be in line for a welterweight title fight by years end so why not take on a new challenge against a man they match up better with stylistically.
Silva has done both in his career. He fought James Irvin a few years back and walked right through him. He later took on former light heavyweight champ Forrest Griffin and had him running right out of the Octagon.
Either way, it could be more entertaining having Silva fight at 205 lbs. rather then dusting another middleweight and who knows when if ever the supposed super fight will ever happen. Sometimes “for shits and giggles” is better then pretense.
My vote would be Stephan Bonnar (if we are talking a popular can-ish fighter who seems to enjoy a good brawl) and Shogun Rua if he beats Forrest Griffin at UFC 134 or Rampage Jackson if he loses to Jon Jones at UFC 135(?). Rashad Evans would also be fun.
Ideally Silva would take an immediate title fight with Jones but I think that is even less likely to happen then him fighting GSP or what is proposed on the next slide...
So many options here. Why not let the Greatest of All-Time test his mettle against the big boys?
A while back there was talk of a Frank Mir-Anderson Silva fight (nothing serious from the UFC brass of course) but nothing ever materialized. It as most likely posturing for political purposes but the idea has always left an imprint.
Imagine Anderson Silva vs. Matt Mitrione, Travis Browne, Stephan Struve, the Cheick Kongo-Party Barry winner and tell me that doesn’t intrigue you to some extent. At least more so then Silva vs. middleweight fighter led to the slaughter.
Then there is the next tier up which would involve Roy Nelson, Shane Carwin, or Frank Mir. I could see all of those fights being at least somewhat competitive...or not but would all be fun to see go down, no?
What if Silva really did wax on/wax off one of these guys and set up a potential heavyweight title fight between him and the Cain Velasquez-Junior dos Santos winner.
At this point, most of you would probably argue that either Cain or JDS would run right through Silva, and most of you might be right. But the build up to that fight would set the MMA world on fire.
Anderson Silva has already beaten Dan Henderson, but Hendo was supposed to get a rematch after he nearly beat the wanker out of Michael Bisping at UFC 100. But the rematch never materialized and Hendo took off to Strikeforce.
Now Hendo is set to face a fellow living legend in Fedor and the winner of that fight will need another unnecessary from a divisional standpoint but super compelling fight with someone of superlative stature.
So why not a super duper fight with Anderson Silva?
It's not like Strikeforce has anyone compelling for Hendo to take on in a light heavyweight title fight and who is Fedor going to fight at heavyweight: besides the Overeem-Werdum or Rogers-Barnett loser (okay so some of those fights could be compelling).
But let's feed the winner to the “Spider.” Not many would probably give either Hendo or Fedor a chance of winning, but that’s why the fight right.
Feel free to sound off on who you think Anderson Silva should fight next, assuming he beats Yushin Okami at UFC 134...