On July 29, the Ultimate Fighting Championship announced that former middleweight champion Anderson Silva would return to fighting to face Nick Diaz in the promotion’s annual Super Bowl weekend fight card’s main event in Las Vegas.
Silva suffered a gruesome leg break during his UFC 168 rematch against champion Chris Weidman. Diaz has been on a hiatus from fighting since losing to then-welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre in March 2013. The Silva match-up is something that Diaz has wanted for a long time, and it’s favorable for Silva stylistically.
Diaz training partner and top UFC lightweight contender Gilbert Melendez believes the Silva and Diaz match-up is a win-win situation for the entire sport from the fans to the promoters.
“There’s not too many times in the sport where everyone is a winner, and the fans, by far, are the winners. Nick’s a winner in this situation. I think this is a great fight for him to come back to and a fight that he’s wanted. He’s fighting one of the greatest of all time, or the greatest of all time at an upper weight,” Melendez recently told MMAWeekly.com.
“Anderson is coming back. He’s fighting a guy who is probably not a kicker, which is probably a good thing,” added The Ultimate Fighter 20 head coach. “And I’m pretty sure Dana (White) and Lorenzo (Fertitta) are happy with this situation. They got Nick Diaz back in the cage, and he’s not fighting for a title. It’s a huge fight. Obviously it’s going to make a lot of money. I think it’s great for the sport. I think everyone’s a winner in this situation.”
Despite both fighters entering the bout coming off back-to-back losses, they have name value and large fan bases.
“They’re going to put butts in the seats, and everyone is going to watch it,” said Melendez.