by Tom Hamlin – MMAWeekly.com
On the eve of a possible record-breaking win streak against a heavy underdog, talk of Anderson Silva’s next move is already in the air.
He’s a big enough middleweight to make the jump up to light heavyweight – he’ll probably walk into the Octagon tomorrow at around 200 pounds – but equally important, Georges St. Pierre is big enough to make the jump to middleweight.
Flanked by two of the light heavyweight division’s biggest stars at the pre-fight press conference for UFC 97 – Chuck Liddell and Mauricio “Shogun” Rua – it was clear Silva had options, both big for the UFC.
“The experience fighting at 205 was a good experience for us,” Silva said via translator Ed Soares. “It’s in our plan to fight more at 205 pounds.”
UFC president Dana White offered little resistance to the idea, provided the champ was victorious against Thales Leites on Saturday, and St. Pierre got past Thiago Alves at UFC 100.
“That’s the way this guy built his career, terrorizing me all the time: ‘I want to fight, I want to fight,'” White said. “Nobody can call me and tell me they want to fight too much. They want to fight; I’ll let them fight. If they want to take some time off, I’ll give them time off. If he wants to fight at 205; I love it.”
White mused about a December superfight between Georges St. Pierre in Toronto, a market he expects to open by year’s end.
“Maybe we could do that,” he said. “I’d like to do it. We’ll see what happens.”
Silva took the speculation in stride and said he would terrorize wherever needed.
“It doesn’t bother me too much,” he said. “I’m pretty focused, and I’m focused on this fight with Thales. As far as Georges St. Pierre, that problem I’m sure is going to get dealt with a little bit later.”
Silva’s teammate, Lyoto Machida, is due for a shot at light heavyweight gold next month against Rashad Evans. The bout has yet to be put under the microscope by most pundits, but if Machida’s recent performances have been any clue, he’s got a good chance against the tough Evans.
While a Machida victory would put the 205-pounds divisional belt off-limits, there would still be plenty division left for Silva to ransack.
“It’s not a focus to have both belts,” he said. “I feel that belt is Lyoto Machida’s. He just hasn’t had the opportunity to fight for the belt yet. But who knows? If he isn’t able to get the belt in his next fight, maybe I’ll come up and get it for him.”
If that wasn’t the case, the men next to him at the press conference, Chuck Liddell and Mauricio “Shogun” Rua, could provide a challenge.
“Definitely,” he said. “I look at these guys as opponents in the future.”
First on the list is fellow Brazilian Leites, the last hurdle to beating Royce Gracie and Jon Fitch for most consecutive UFC wins and Matt Hughes for most title defenses.
Silva says it’ll be just another day at the office.
“I’m looking forward to just going and doing my job.”