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With ten fights on the horizon, where does Anderson Silva go from here?
With the recent news that longtime UFC Middleweight champ Anderson Silva has signed a 10-fight contract extension, speculation around his next several fights should begin to run rampant in the New Year. True, talk of a superfight between him and Georges St. Pierre or more recently Jon Jones has been the subject of many a discussion. But neither of those fights seem to be gathering much momentum, as St. Pierre faces a litany of challengers at Welterweight beginning with Nick Diaz, while Jones finds himself as coach on The Ultimate Fighter, set to face off with Chael Sonnen in April.
Those fights, although guaranteed to happen by Dana White, would seem to have a ton of red tape surrounding their actual scheduling. Silva has seemed eager to fight the smaller man in GSP, but more reluctant to face Light Heavyweight champion Jones. And after all, he may have a point here. While great for the fans, the Jones fight may be a sort of paradoxical for Silva and his legacy. Win, and he’s still the best fighter to ever step into the Octagon. Lose, and he’s now playing second fiddle to Jones in the eyes of many. At that point, Jones will have simply beaten too many former champions to deny.
So that brings us to the Middleweight division, where Silva will surely defend his belt a few more times before retiring. A small logjam was cleared up at UFC 155, as potential top contenders Alan Belcher and Tim Boetsch both lost, paving the road for Michael Bisping to finally step into a title shot. However, he must first get past Vitor Belfort on January 19th, which is not an easy task. Should Belfort knock Bisping out, does he deserve a rematch at Silva? That’s fight that some may want to see. Costa Philippou is another fighter who may get a shot at the 185 lb. belt, but he needs to put together a few more wins first. Hector Lombard could also be a good matchup if he goes on an impressive streak. Chris Weidman, although injured, remains near the top of the division.
With all this being speculation at this point, coupled with the fact that Anderson Silva has stated he will fight next in late 2013, would make it seem that his next bout is up in the air, let alone his next 10. Silva is an almost superhuman competitor, and while getting up in age at 37 years old, he has taken very little damage in demolishing all of the combatants the UFC has thrown his way. If anyone has that much gas left in the tank at 37, it’s Silva. On the other hand, ten fights is a ton, and will most likely take at least five years at the current pace.
Who do you want to see Silva fight in his final ten? What does he have left to prove? I’m sure he is looking to protect his already impressive legacy and attempt to go out undefeated. This is entirely possible, as I see Jones as the only serious threat among currently talked about fights for Silva. GSP could be a great match, but St. Pierre has appeared very unmotivated to step into the cage with Silva in a bout that’s been rumored for almost four years now. The future is uncertain, yes, but rest assured it’s going to be a wild ride.