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Who’s Next For Anderson Silva?

Anderson Silva
Anderson Silva gets ready before his UFC 148 middleweight championship fight against Chael Sonnen at the MGM Grand Garden Arena Saturday, July 7, 2012 in Las Vegas. Silva won with a TKO in the second round. (AP Photo/David Becker)
Silva
Anderson Silva gets ready before his UFC 148 middleweight championship fight against Chael Sonnen at the MGM Grand Garden Arena Saturday, July 7, 2012 in Las Vegas. Silva won with a TKO in the second round. (AP Photo/David Becker)

Anderson Silva is back to his devastating ways.

“He’s our Mike Tyson,” said UFC president Dana White after Saturday night’s beat down, according to USA Today. And that’s fair. After all, most fight fans agree: pound for pound, he’s the best in the business. For a while, so was Tyson.

But that’s where the terms of agreement between the UFC and its fans seem to end, and while White doesn’t seem to want to entertain the thought just yet (and Silva is too busy cooking up that “Brazilian barbeque” for Chael), the question on everybody else’s mind is, “Who’s next?”

Anderson “The Spider” Silva now owns a perfect 15-0 record in the UFC. In 36 professional fights, he’s only lost four, most recently in 2006 when an illegal kick from the guard accidentally knocked his opponent out cold.

So when Chael Sonnen was able to hold Silva down for an unprecedented 23 minutes back at UFC 117, fans put their call for a GSP-Silva catch weight bout on the back burner. Then Sonnen’s doping scandal broke, Silva said he fought hurt, and his next two brutal finishes over Vitor Belfort and Yushin Okami gave credence to both those rumors. Now that UFC 148 has confirmed, yet again, that Silva stands head and shoulders above the rest of his 185-pound division, fans are looking for his next, serious challenge—even if Silva and White won’t.

Georges St-Pierre, current Welterweight champion, rides an impressive nine-fight win streak and stood for a while as the first logical choice for a catch weight superfight with Silva.

“Maybe one day this fight is the good fight,” Silva told Max & Marcellus on ESPN Radio about the possibility, but it never happened, and now it’s looking less and less likely, especially since the spotlight has shifted from GSP to Jon “Bones” Jones. At the UFC 148 press conference, Silva had one word for that dream match-up: “No.” No translation necessary for that one.

White, who proclaims mixed martial art to be the fastest growing sport in the world, says it’s not his business to push his fighters in and out of weight classes. No matter how loud the fans scream for it, until Anderson wants it, it’s not happening. That may or may not come as a surprise, especially after comments White has made in the past in reference to Mayweather and his increasingly stagnate world of boxing:

“What you should worry about is getting in there and making the fight that all the boxing fans want to see. Get in there and fight Manny Pacquiao…Both of you split the money up and put on the fight that everybody, including me, wants to see,” he said, according to Yahoo! Sports.

Unfortunately for MMA fight fans, the same does not apply to the UFC and its promotions. Sure, Jones fights at Light Heavyweight, twenty pounds heavier than Silva’s comfortable weight, but that hasn’t stopped “The Spider” before. Just look at what he did to James Irvin and, more recently, to Forrest Griffin. Both men 205 lbs. contenders, both men knocked out like something from a kung fu flick, minutes into the first round.

If weight isn’t the issue, then it’s friendship, mutual respect, or something nice like that. Previously, at the Max & Marcellus show on ESPN 710, Silva explained, “I told [Jones], ‘Hey man, you’re the best; this time you need to take your focus to training. You have more and more fights a year, but you no have opponents.’ A fight with Jon Jones, this is maybe no good…I would not fight anyone here. These are my friends.”

But how many times have we seen White bash fighters in both worlds for hiding behind that excuse? Silva has his reasons to turn down the fight, and Mayweather has his reasons to avoid Pacquiao. But the deciding factor is not the fans in either case. Not by a long shot.

So for all the criticism dished out against the undefeated Mayweather for not taking the one fight boxing fans are chomping at the bit to see, where is Silva’s bad press? Both men are at the top of their games, and both men don’t seem to be in any hurry to take a serious threat to their reigns.

Should GSP-Silva happen? Or is Jones next in line? Does it even matter what we say? Apparently not. In any case, it would be a shame to see what is bringing the boxing world to a drool take seed in the young and rising sport MMA.

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