Opinion: What’s Next For Anderson Silva?
By Michael Hatamoto
Vitor Belfort used a swift high kick to Michael Bisping’s dome to end the British fighter’s chance (again) of a shot at the UFC middleweight title.
With Bisping out of the running, it’s going to be fascinating to see who gets next crack at middleweight champion Anderson Silva.
Chris Weidman has destroyed the likes of Mark Munoz and Demian Maia as of late, though Silva isn’t interested in the fight. Even with his strong wrestling base, I think Silva would be able to pick him apart on the feet to win the fight.
Strikeforce fighter Luke Rockhold will enter the UFC as Strikeforce middleweight champion, though his only notable win in the shuttered promotion was a unanimous decision win against Ronaldo Souza in 2011. He has shown absolutely nothing that indicates he deserves a chance against Silva, except for the idea that he will enter the UFC as a champion.
A fight between Weidman and Rockhold would determine a more legitimate No. 1 contender, but it’s an idea both fighters wouldn’t be happy about. It can be argued Weidman deserves a title shot, but a win over Rockhold would confirm his legitimacy in the middleweight division.
Meanwhile, let’s not forget about Hector Lombard, as he might be awarded a title opportunity if he beats former contender Yushin Okami at UFC on Fuel TV: Silva vs. Stann, which takes place in March.
After a TKO win against Tim Boetsch – knocking him out of title contention – Costa Philippou has suddenly entered the title mix as well. He’d need at least one more strong win against a top contender, but could find his way into the octagon with Silva before the end of 2013.
If former light heavyweight contender Rashad Evans can get by Antonio Rogerio Nogueira, I think it’s time he thinks about a drop to middleweight. Despite the Blackzilian fighter never fighting at middleweight, it’d be a high-profile matchup that fans could get behind. In addition to his strong wrestling skills, Evans has steadily worked on his standup skills, and served as the light heavyweight champion for a short time.
There are no easy answers as to which fighter gets a shot at Silva later in 2013, and Spider will probably get the first half of the year off. I don’t think it matters who gets the shot, as I expect MMA fans will not be happy – and Silva will likely destroy his opponent to further solidify his MMA legacy.