In a perfect world, UFC president Dana White would celebrate his company’s 20th Anniversary with a superfight in one of the few places in the United States that have yet to regulate mixed martial arts… New York.
“Anderson (Silva) and (Jon) Jones, that’s the fight I want to see,” said White on a recent edition of UFC Tonight when asked what superfight most intrigues him. “If we made that fight and if everything went the right way, Madison Square Garden. Madison Square Garden on our anniversary.”
The Ultimate Fighting Championship was born on Nov. 12, 1993, at McNichols Arena in Denver. That arena is long gone now, but creeping up on the promotion’s 20th anniversary later this year, White would love nothing more than to finally crack the code and enter the New York market, and there is hardly a more historical venue to hold it in than Madison Square Garden.
Whether or not that can actually happen remains to be seen.
After years of trying, White believes they are as poised to finally get into New York, but it’s still not a done deal.
“We’re feeling pretty good about New York, really good. I just don’t want to talk about it,” said White following UFC 157: Rousey vs. Carmouche. “Let the lawyers deal with this. I’ll end up saying some (expletive) that will piss somebody off. We’ll have to wait another (expletive) year if I say something stupid.”
But even if they can get past legal hurdles in New York, there’s still the matter of putting the fight together.
The UFC recently put together a “superfight” between featherweight champion Jose Aldo and Frankie Edgar, as well as an upcoming bout between Aldo and Anthony Pettis, but those fights don’t carry the same luster as Anderson Silva vs. Jon Jones or Georges St-Pierre, the superfights that have been on everyone’s mind for the past couple years.
Silva vs. St-Pierre was extremely close to happening at one point, but an injury sent those aspirations spiraling away, at least temporarily.
“Before Georges St-Pierre’s injury, he was 100-percent down to fight Anderson,” White commented. “After being gone as long as he was, coming back, has a tough fight against Condit, wants this Diaz fight. I don’t blame Georges either. He wants to make sure that knee is good, get a couple fights under his belt (before reconsidering a fight with Silva).”
Jon Jones has a fight against Chael Sonnen already on tap for April, and White is still trying to put Silva in the Octagon with Chris Weidman as soon as July. So those bouts would have to go as planned and without injury for a Silva vs. Jones superfight to remain a possibility.
And all of that is predicated on Anderson Silva signing a new contract with the UFC. White has often said that there is no concern in getting a deal done with Silva; it’s just a matter of finally hammering out the details and putting pen to paper.
“It’s always a process with Anderson Silva, but to be honest, he wants big fights,” said White.
“It’s either going to be an eight- or 10-fight deal.”
So in Dana White’s perfect world, we’ll get to see Anderson Silva vs. Jon Jones sometime in November at Madison Square Garden, but in the real world, there are still quite a few moving parts that have to work together to make it a reality.
Will it happen? Only time will tell.