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UFC News: Anderson Silva willing to take title shot leapfrogging 'Jacare' Souza, but would welcome Bisping rematch

Johny Payne
SENIOR ANALYST
569   //    15 Jan 2017, 22:35 IST
LAS VEGAS, NV - JULY 08:  Mixed martial artist Anderson Silva smiles as he arrives at his weigh-in for UFC 200 at T-Mobile Arena on July 8, 2016 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Silva will meet Daniel Cormier in a non-title light heavyweight bout on July 9 at T-Mobile Arena. Silva replaces Jon Jones who was pulled from a light heavyweight title fight against Cormier due to a potential violation of the UFC's anti-doping policy.  (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
 Anderson Silva is one of the greatest strikers to ever compete in MMA

                                                                                     

What’s the story?

Former Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Middleweight (MW/185 pound) champion of the world, Anderson ‘The Spider’ Silva strongly believes that his X-Gym teammate Ronaldo ‘Jacare’ Souza should be next in line to fight current champion, Michael Bisping, for the UFC 185 pound title. However, in case Silva gets a call from the UFC for a 185 pound title fight, he has stated that he will not turn it down even if that means cutting in line, in front of his teammate Ronaldo ‘Jacare’ Souza. While speaking to Brazilian TV show Combate on Thursday, Silva spoke on a multitude of topics ranging from Jacare’s impending MW title shot, a rematch with Bisping, a potential move down to 170 pounds, business vs sport, etc. 

In case you didn’t know:

Anderson Silva (33-8) faced Michael ‘The Count’ Bisping (30-7) at UFC Fight Night 84 in a five round main event MW matchup. Bisping edged Silva in a closely contested battle of wills, a fight in which Silva almost finished Bisping at the end of the 3rd round. However, the judges scored the fight for Bisping and in his very next fight, bisping went on to capture UFC Middleweight gold by knocking out then-champion Luke Rockhold. Silva, meanwhile, fough Daniel ‘DC’ Cormier at UFC 200, losing a three round decision to ‘DC’. 

Meanwhile, Ronaldo ‘Jacare’ Souza went on to score dominant finish of former UFC Light Heavyweight champion Vitor Belfort, following a controversial split-decision loss to Yoel Romero. Jacare got back on track after a dominant showing against Belfort and seemed to be next in line for a title shot, however, the UFC has strangely matched him up with Tim Boetsch at UFC 208. 

When probed to give his opinion on this issue, Silva remained quite diplomatic. He stated that although he would absolutely consider taking the UFC up on an offer of a title fight, should he win, he would simply vacate the MW title as a show of respect for his teammate ‘Jacare’. 

The heart of the matter:

Speaking to Combate, Silva confessed that he is interested in taking a 185 pound title fight, especially if it is against Michael Bisping, as Silva sees that as an oppurtunity to redeem himself against ‘The Count’, who beat him by a narrow margin on the judges’ scorecards. Here are a few excerpts from Silva’s interview to Combate-

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“I’m rooting for (Souza) to get the opportunity to fight for the belt,” Silva said. “If it doesn’t happen and I get that opportunity, of course I want to fight. 

Besides, Silva also alluded to the possibility of a Welterweight (170 pound) title run in his UFC future. He stated that the lowest weight he can currently make is 77.9 kgs (171.7 pounds). Silva, the longtime UFC MW champion, has ten consecutive UFC title defences to his name. Besides, Silva is no stranger to shifting weight classes, having fought mutiple times at Light Heavyweight (LHW/205 pounds) in the UFC. Silva has a 3-1 record at 205 pounds in the UFC, with the only loss being a dull 3 round decision to Cormier.

For now, Silva is happy supporting Jacare in his title quest. Silva went on to state that Jacare absolutely deserves a MW title shot, especially from a sporting perspective. However, Silva also declared that from a business point of view, his rematch with Bisping would do amazing business for the UFC. Silva also feels that after all the time and hard work, he has put into the sport of MMA over his long and illustrious career, he deserves a title fight with Bisping on the ‘merit’ basis itself. 

What’s next:

Regardless of all the speculation of the futures of the MW elite, for now, Silva is all set to face Derek Brunson at UFC 208 in Brooklyn in February. Meanwhile, ‘Jacare’ is all set to face Tim Boestch on the same card. On the other hand, Michael Bisping has become everyone’s favourite target in the MW division ever since he has won the UFC 185 pound strap. Bisping, coming off a hard-fought decision victory over Dan Henderson at UFC 204, defending his title for the first time in the process, is most likely to fight Cuban wrestling sensation Yoel ‘Soldier of God’ Romero. 

Sportskeeda’s Take:

Anderson Silva is a true MMA legend. His contributions to the golden era of MMA are undisputed. However, now, it is Jacare’s time to shine. Jacare seems to have hit his prime in his late-thirties and has run through the UFC MW roster like a freight train. His loss to Yoel Romero may have halted his momentum a bit, however, that fight with Romero was a closely contested decision loss in which Jacare had gained the upper hand in the final round. Silva respects Jacare and won’t fight him. Now, as good as that is, it’s highly probable that a Silva vs Jacare fight may not be necessary at all. The UFC isn’t showing any intentions of giving Silva a MW title shot and Bisping, on his part, has shown little interest in offering Silva a rematch and a shot at his belt.

As far as Silva’s apparent interest in a move down to 170 pounds is concerned, that seems like a bad idea for Silva. The Spider is 41 years of age and the fact that ‘Father Time’ waits for no one, rings true. Fighting is a tough profession and the fight game is a ruthless business. Cosidering the fact that Silva has been a Professional MMA fighter for almost two decades now, it seems like a terrible idea for him to beat down his body by cutting down to 170 pounds. Besides, Silva has got nothing to prove. He has fought and beat several elite MMA fighters over a career spanning two decades. Now, that isn’t too shabby, is it?

Nevertheless, Silva’s respect for Jacare is admirable and for now, a clash of their paths seems a bit unlikely, with Jacare marching on toward the MW title and Silva having other options rather than mindlessly pursue a title shot. That said, if the UFC calls up ‘Spider’ and brings him in for a ‘money fight’, don’t be surprised. After all, MMA is in the era of money fights, and us fans, are all aboard for this crazy ride.  


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