Anderson Silva’s recent dismantling of Chael Sonnen in their highly anticipated bout on July 7, 2012 solidified his position as the premiere talent of the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC). Sonnen, who heavily berated Silva, his family, and his country leading up to UFC 148, took the Brazilian down within five seconds of the beginning of the bout. The first round of this highly anticipated rematch appeared eerily similar to UFC 117, where Sonnen took down and dominated Silva for four and a half rounds. In their second meeting, Silva spent the whole first round on his back. Yet, he appeared quite calm and relaxed, even as Sonnen fully mounted him near the end of the first round.
The second round, however, looked nothing like the first. Sonnen threw a swinging backfist. He missed, and fell against the cage. Silva delivered a knee to the Oregon native’s chest and finished the fight with strikes shortly after for a TKO win. Throughout Silva’s six year UFC career, no one has appeared to give the middleweight champion as much trouble, in and out of the octagon, as Sonnen. Now that Silva/Sonnen II has ended, many wonder about the future of Silva and the middleweight division. At 37 years old, some wonder whether Silva should retire and keep his legacy intact. Many believe that he should move to the light heavyweight division, where he would be presented with the opportunity to deepen his presence in the UFC and become only one of three men to hold UFC gold in two separate weight classes.
The Super Fight: Anderson Silva and the current light heavyweight champion Jon Jones share many of the same characteristics. Both are unpredictable and unorthodox with respect to their fighting styles. The two men are similar in size and athleticism; and most of all, both have virtually cleared out their respective divisions. Excitement for this super fight will hit an all-time high if Jones defeats Dan Henderson on September 1, 2012. John Heinis, of the Bleacher Report, exclaimed that the super fight makes sense, given the match’s money-making potential and immense fan interest. “Jon Jones and Anderson Silva are still two of the most recognizable faces in combat sports today, so this fight would attract casual fans worldwide. This fight would be a massive attraction for the sport of MMA.”
Although both champions have expressed no interest in fighting each other, UFC president Dana White has not ruled out the option. When questioned about the possible super match-up and the champions’ reluctance to face each other, Dana White smiled and stated, “He (Silva) said he wouldn’t fight Chael again, either. The two times he went to 205, it wasn’t because he wanted to. It was because I asked him to. Let’s see what happens.” A bout between Silva and Jones lends itself to being the biggest MMA fight in history.
Retirement: Currently, there are no viable opponents in the middleweight division for Silva to face. The Spider could fight Michael Bisping, Mark Munoz or Chris Weidman in his next outing. However, these fights would not garner the same type of money or excitement that would be involved in a Silva vs. Jones super fight. If a move to light heavyweight is not fancied by the Brazilian, with nothing left to prove at middleweight, retirement would seem like the most logical option.
With respect to the middleweight division, Silva’s legacy has already been solidified. However, at almost 40 years old, if Silva wishes to continue fighting in his current weight class, a loss would, in fact, tarnish his legacy, and end his undefeated streak in the UFC. At least, at light heavyweight, Silva is presented with a win/win scenario. If he loses to anyone in the light heavyweight division, this would not blemish his standing at middleweight. At the same time, if Silva wins and becomes champion as a light heavyweight, there would be no question regarding his status as the greatest MMA fighter of all-time.