Will a monumental superfight between Anderson Silva and Jon Jones ever happen?
With the amount of mixed martial arts and UFC events being offered up to fans lately, it is only natural for one's mind to wander and dream about the fights we may never have. Fans have been spoiled to the fact that if two fighters are in the same division and want to see them rumble the UFC will do everything to make it happen.
If all the divisional fights seem to become reality, we are left to look to crossover fights and superfights to dream and speculate on matches we would love to see but may never happen.
Middleweight champion Anderson Silva moving up to 205 pounds and challenging champion Jon Jones is a superfight in waiting, and here are eight reasons why I think that fight will eventually happen.
Anderson Silva has already pretty much cleaned out the middleweight division of any real challengers to his belt. After he gets revenge on Yushin Okami this weekend he will have rectified one of his losses and also made good on Okami, who was really owed a shot at the title.
After Yushin, there is really no one left to claim that they are entitled to a shot at the middleweight champion, and the time may be right for him to look for that superfight outside his division. Silva is the type of guy who would more likely step up in weight and take the pressure off rather than drop down in weight and risk losing to the smaller fighter.
Jon Jones may seem like he has a lot of work to do to clean out the contenders in his division and get to where Silva is at this point. The timing may not be right, but if you take a closer look at the true contenders in the division and a crossover may not seem as out of the question.
Mauricio Rua is still ranked in the top five and Jones completely destroyed him to take the title. Rampage Jackson is next in line and already set for the end of September. I only see two more legitimate challengers sitting in wait for Jones and that is Rashad Evans and Lyoto Machida, with no one else behind them worthy.
This fight may be more likely than you think.
With the volume of events, injury pull-outs and fighter issues that can pop up at any given moment in the UFC, it is always on the search for major marquee matchups that can swell fan interest.
Social media plays a big role as well, and it seems the UFC always has its finger on the pulse of the fan. With fans all over the globe frothing at the thought of Anderson Silva being taken into deep waters again, much like where Chael Sonnen took him in his last fight, the UFC will be sure to keep an eye on this marquee fight to headline a special show at some point on the horizon.
Marquee matchups drive pay-per-view dollars and fan interest, and with all the lead up hype specials and possibilities for this one, the benefit to the sport and the UFC is undeniable.
The other superfight that fans have been wanting for quite a while now is for welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre to move up to middleweight and challenge Anderson Silva for his title. Both of these men have been on incredible runs in their divisions and the UFC has had to struggle to find worthy challengers for each champ.
Fans started to clamour for this fight back in early 2010 but the momentum and interest seem to be hitting a lull. This fight has been out there for a couple of years now but neither fighter has been all that eager to make the sacrifice necessary to make it happen.
GSP has stated that he really needs to be sure before he makes a weight move like that and Silva has also stated he is not crazy about that fight.
As we wait, Silva-Jones continues to gain momentum.
What Dana White and Lorenzo Fertitta want they usually get. Now, there have been some rather famous exceptions such as Fedor Emelianenko and M1-Global not signing on the dotted line, but for the most part, they are powerful and magical at making these things happen.
UFC owner Fertitta posted on his Twitter account earlier this year: "Bones vs. Silva? Who wants it?"—a clear indication that this superfight has hit the radar of the top brass in the UFC.
If Fertitta threw it out there to gauge fan interest then I'm sure his responses were overwhelmingly in favour of this juicy matchup. If fans responded quickly and in kind, you can be sure that Fertitta has tucked it away for later discussions with UFC matchmaker Joe Silva.
At 36 years old, it has been speculated that Anderson Silva will soon be looking to retire from the combat sports game. He has fought many fights and been a champion for many years now, has endorsements, movie opportunities and I'm sure his family will be taken care of nicely in his retirement.
If Silva really wanted to guarantee his future financially and ensure that he and his have nothing to worry about before he goes out, a fight with Jones would almost certainly bring a paycheck to retire on. The fan interest, gate and pay-per-view money would be incredible no matter where this fight takes place.
Jon Jones has already accomplished great things in his early UFC career and is on his way to making quite a career for himself. He has made no secret of the fact that he wants to be one of the biggest stars the UFC has ever had.
He has an incredible opportunity to stamp an early legacy by ending one of the most dominant reigns in UFC history by beating Silva. We all saw what happened to Fabricio Werdum's stock after he ended Fedor Emelianenko's unbelievable run and also how fast Fedor fell after.
Anderson Silva is sitting in that unbeatable spot right now and whoever can get that first victory over him will immediately jump to the top dog in the UFC. Chael Sonnen came within a hair of doing it and it boosted his stock immensely.
I think Jones should be next.
There are certain times when fans are calling for a crossover superfight that we know is near impossible to make happen due to fight timing, injuries or huge gaps in weight that are impossible to overcome. Such has been a sticky point with the Silva-GSP fight as the size difference between the two men has been deemed too much for GSP to be able to handle.
This is not the case with Silva-Jones as Anderson Silva is a very big middleweight and would have very little trouble making the 205-pound weight needed to challenge Jon Jones. Jones would have a slight ability to bulk up after the weigh-in for that fight, but Silva would be able to make it close and fair.
With the way the sport—and the UFC in particular—has grown in recent years, top-level fighters are finally able to make a decent living doing the sport they love. Of course, there are still classes in fighting and the lower fighters are not going to get rich from their fighting careers.
The top-level fighters are able to earn decent money to sign for a fight, a decent amount more if they get a win and then a bonus if they are lucky. Dana White and the UFC can be commended for getting this sport to place where a fighter can fight a normal three or four fights a year and make a good living.
Sure, champions and top contenders have opportunities for sponsorships and endorsement contracts to further provide for their families, but all are looking for that one or two big fights that can bring in enough money to retire and live free of financial worry.
Silva-Jones is one of those fights that doesn't come along very often and everyone involved in it would make a cage load of money. Usually in things of this magnitude, money talks and BS walks, and I think this one will be too good to pass up.
Dwight Wakabayashi is a featured columnist for Bleacher Report MMA and a correspondent for MMACanada.net.