Opinion: The Premature Calls For Anderson Silva’s Next Opponent
By Jesse Heitz
We’re on the precipice of UFC 162, an event which will feature a highly anticipated UFC Middleweight Championship bout between kingpin Anderson Silva and up-and-coming challenger Chris Weidman. Yet, scores of MMA insiders, news outlets, and fans alike are excitedly discussing who Silva’s next opponent should be.
UFC President, Dana White, himself has relentlessly tried to pair Georges St-Pierre up with Silva for a dance inside the famed Octagon, but to no avail stating to USA Today,
“I’ve been working hard to try to make those fights,”
“At the end of the day, he weighs 170 pounds. Any guy who’s going to fight up in weight — ‘I’m the man here at 170. If I thought I was the man at 185, I’d be at 185.’ I get it. But it’s a fight a lot of fans want to see, it’s a big fight. It’s a legacy fight, and it’s a fight for the pound-for-pound best in the world.”
“Georges St-Pierre could do this catch-weight fight and he could still be the champ at 170. But what’s crazy to me is, GSP opted to take a very dangerous fight (against Hendricks) at 170 without trying to take a dangerous fight at 185.”
Anderson Silva himself, along with Dana White, has also mentioned a possible superfight with UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Jon “Bones” Jones, and even a bout between Silva and dormant boxer Roy Jones Jr. Silva commented on the matter to mmajunkie stating,
“From a professional point of view, my goals have already been accomplished. I don’t see any greater challenges in my career. I simply seek to be a better human being every day. I try to set a good example to those around me. That’s what’s most important to me. A fight with Jon Jones, with St-Pierre or even with Weidman won’t change anything. The past has been written already.”
“I believe a fight against Roy Jones Jr. would be much better.”
Whoa, let’s just slow the train down. I know that Dana White, eager to keep his cash cow top talent happy, has arranged for Roy Jones Jr. to attend UFC 162, but let’s keep our collective eyes on the proverbial ball. Chris Weidman is the opponent at hand. He’s the man that many are picking to dethrone Silva. While I’m personally of the opinion that the gold will remain around Silva’s waist, one can’t deny that Weidman isn’t to be taken lightly.
He possesses the skills necessary to give Silva considerable trouble. Chael Sonnen proved what dominant wrestling can do to a fighter like Silva. Add exceptional submission skills and awareness to the aforementioned dominant wrestling, and you have a title challenger even more capable than the man who took the undefeatable Anderson Silva to the brink, coming within mere minutes of pulling off the greatest upset in MMA history.
I think we all know that our years of being able to witness Anderson Silva put on clinics against the world’s elites are numbered. Perhaps his comments on how his legacy is cemented and he essentially has nothing left to prove reflect that he himself is staring at the light at the end of his professional tunnel. Nevertheless, he hasn’t confirmed any such suspicions, so before we entertain notions of career swansongs against 40-something year old inactive boxers or superfights with St-Pierre or even Jon Jones, let’s focus on the test at hand.