The world reacted with an almost stunned silence when UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva talked about his potential retirement from the sport in just a few short years.
Silva, who will turn 36 later this year, has never shied away from the fact that he wants to spend more time at home with his family, and even kept his entire training camp for his UFC 126 fight against Vitor Belfort at home in Brazil.
Known by most as the best pound-for-pound fighter on the planet, Silva still has challenges ahead of him, starting with Belfort, but according to his manager, a couple more years may be all that the Brazilian has left in the fight game.
“Whether people like it or not, he’s in the later phase of his career. I could see him fighting for another two years, for sure,” Ed Soares told MMAWeekly Radio recently.
Silva’s career began long before he made it to the UFC, but since he’s been in the world’s premier MMA organization he’s looked virtually unstoppable.
At 12-0 over a nearly five-year unbeaten streak, Silva is reaching for legendary status when it comes to MMA. He’s never been a fighter to talk too much about his legacy, but Soares believes that if he keeps up his current run it would be hard to look at the Brazilian as anything but the greatest fighter in the UFC’s history.
“He wants to fight the best. In a perfect world, I’d like to see Anderson retire in the UFC going undefeated in the UFC,” Soares said. “If I could have my perfect world, that’s what I would love to see. He’s probably got a good five or six fights left to do, I believe.”
Of those five or six fights, if everything shakes out at UFC 126 and he comes out on top, a pending match-up could be on the horizon with current welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre.
It’s a bout that everyone in the world has talked about at one point or another, and even UFC president Dana White mentioned recently that if both fighters are successful in their next contests, it’s a bout UFC fans could see in 2011.
Silva’s focus for now is purely pointed at Vitor Belfort, but a match-up with St-Pierre could be one of the biggest fights in the sport’s history.
“I think it’s a fight the world wants to see and I think it could be one of the biggest fights of all time,” Soares commented.
“I think Anderson’s focus right now is Vitor Belfort. That’s what we’re focused on. Georges St-Pierre is an incredible fighter. He’s definitely the best fighter at 170 pounds. It would be an honor to fight Georges St-Pierre, just like it would be an honor for Georges to fight Anderson. It’s two great champions going in there and answering the question who the best pound-for-pound fighter is in the world. I think it could be a huge fight. ”
St-Pierre still has to get through Jake Shields at UFC 129 in April as well, but if the two fighters do successfully pass their next tests, a mega fight of the biggest nature could be on tap.
First up however, Silva has to face fellow countryman Vitor Belfort at UFC 126 and if he doesn’t succeed there, the fight with St-Pierre isn’t even a possibility.