With Michael Bisping Out of the Picture, Who Will Anderson Silva Face Next?

January 20, 2013
57 Comments

Before Saturday night got started, Anderson Silva walked into the arena in Sao Paolo with the idea that he might leave with a new No. 1 contender ready to face him in a few months.

Vitor Belfort totally ruined those plans however after knocking out Michael Bisping in the second round with a highlight reel head kick, pushing the Brit back out of the title picture.

Now as impressive as Belfort’s win was, UFC president Dana White has stated in the past that there’s little interest in doing a second Silva vs. Belfort fight after the first one ended so dramatically. Silva finished Belfort in the first round with a now infamous front kick to the face that completed what at the time was the champion’s eighth consecutive title defense.

Silva vs. Bisping would have done big business for the UFC on pay-per-view, but now with his loss, there doesn’t appear to be a clear-cut No. 1 contender at middleweight, and the Brazilian legend’s options for his next fight are wide open.

“I don’t know, I need to talk to Dana (White) and Lorenzo (Fertitta),” Silva answered when asked by Fuel TV who he wanted to fight next.

Taking a look at what could come next for the greatest champion in UFC history, the waters are muddy right now and it may take a big part of 2013 to actually figure out whom Silva will take on later this year.

Chris Weidman

In the middleweight division, Chris Weidman currently stands as the best fighter at 185 pounds not named Anderson Silva, who already has wins in the UFC. The problem is Weidman is out until the summertime dealing with an injured shoulder, and by the time he returns it will have been almost a year or more since he last fought.

Weidman’s wins over Demian Maia and Mark Munoz are still impressive, but Silva didn’t express much interest in facing the New Yorker when he was at his hottest moment coming off a win last July. How much more will Silva want to face him after Weidman’s been off for a year?

Weidman is quite interested in challenging Silva when he returns, however, as he posted on Twitter following the fights on Saturday.

“I’ll be back in summer and that’s when Anderson wanted to fight. Coincidence? I think not,” wrote Weidman.

It’s unclear though if the UFC will pull the trigger on making the fight between Silva and Weidman after already having the chance to do that in 2012 and not putting it together.

Luke Rockhold

The last ever Strikeforce middleweight titleholder poses an interesting debate because immediately the UFC can bill a “champion vs. champion” fight with Anderson Silva. Rockhold’s issue is that he’s also been out since last July, his name is not widely recognized in the UFC yet, and his biggest win came over Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza in 2011.

The win over Souza is great, but it was in Strikeforce at a show that went largely unnoticed by the masses, and much like Rockhold, Souza isn’t a well-known commodity in the casual MMA community. Rockhold’s best chance to get a crack at Silva would be to try to convince the UFC to face someone like Vitor Belfort in his Octagon debut, fresh off the win on Saturday night.

Rockhold said via Twitter on Saturday, “I’m healthy and ready to fight whoever UFC wants,” which is a bit odd considering he dropped out of his scheduled bout on Jan. 12 due to injury, but that’s neither here nor there.

If Rockhold can beat Vitor Belfort, that goes a long way in proving he belongs with the best middleweights in the world.

Hector Lombard

Former Bellator champion Hector Lombard falls further down the list because currently he only has one win in the UFC, and that’s after he lost his debut fight to Tim Boetsch.

On the positive side, however, Lombard does have a chance to move up the ladder when he faces former title contender Yushin Okami on March 3 in Japan. If Lombard can blast his way through Okami the same way he did Rousimar Palhares last December, he could make a case for his spot in a middleweight title fight.

It’s not likely Lombard will get the shot, but he’s a dark horse in the race.

Jon Jones

This is probably the most intriguing possibility, and the one that actually may hold the most value in the list.

Both Jon Jones and Anderson Silva scoffed at the idea of a superfight several months ago, but lately they’ve warmed to the idea of facing off. Jones still has business ahead of him in April when he faces Chael Sonnen at UFC 159 in New Jersey, but if he comes away victorious it could clear the road for potentially the biggest fight in UFC history.

White has teased about a show in November landing at Madison Square Garden in New York, celebrating the promotion’s 20th anniversary, and that a monster fight would headline that card.

What could be bigger right now than Anderson Silva vs. Jon Jones?

Of course, there are still a lot of hurdles to jump before that fight could happen, but unless a true contender emerges at 185 pounds in the next few months, Silva may potentially sit out a big part of the year waiting for the right fight to come along.

Jon Jones might be the perfect fly to land in the Spider’s web.

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  • marcus miles

    The way it sounds, Silva will be 100 years old by the time he finishes his contract.

  • OneFansOpinion

    He should fight Gegard Moussasi at Light Heavyweight. He wins, it establishes his shot at Jones. He loses, they can rematch at Middleweight for the belt.

    • dick niaz

      Mousasi is booked with Gustafsson.

      Also – no way Rockhold should be rewarded with a title shot for DUCKING HIS OPPONENT in his last SF fight.

      It’s gonna be Lombard, only fight that makes sense.

  • denny

    Rustam, weidman, mousasi all beat silva. Dana quit protecting silva

    • Madmmax

      Who is Rustam? Mousasi is overrated

      • http://twitter.com/JakeSimmons2000 Jake Simmons

        Rustam is one scary dude, probably a top 10 …. Lightweight. Or is he WW? Mousasi is a top 5 LHW.

  • denny

    Dana knew bisping was an easy mark for silva. He thought bisping would whoop belfort.lol.he protecting silva. This is fighting so quit protecting silva. The whole world sees what is happening, dana is lame.

    • El Gvapo

      And the prize for most stupid comment of the year goes to you my friend. What or who is Dana trying to “protect” Anderson from?

      • Murphy

        He is the best fighter this planet has ever seen! As far as “protecting” him goes you have not got a clue! There are always haters for the best fighters in the world thinking they get hand picked fights! Floyd mayweather for example! They beat everyone put in front of them with ease and because of that people like yourself think they are being protected! The simple fact is they are head and shoulders above everyone else!

        • http://twitter.com/JakeSimmons2000 Jake Simmons

          Nope. He never fought his toughest opponent ever: Pacquiao

      • http://www.CombatScienceMMA.com/ CombatScienceMMA

        I think that guy stalks Chris Weidman lol.

        • El Gvapo

          Jeez, tell me about it! He literally jizzes his pants about all things Weidman. I think even Weidman himself would find this dude unnerving

          • http://twitter.com/JakeSimmons2000 Jake Simmons

            I’m jizzing my pants as we speak!

    • http://www.CombatScienceMMA.com/ CombatScienceMMA

      What are you talking about? Dana is in the fight business. He wants to book big fights, to make the promotion and fighters money. He’s trying to put together Silva/GSP and Silva/Jones. If he was trying to protect him he would give Silva somebody with less fights then they have fingers. Why would he have to protect Anderson Silva who has beaten everyone he’s fought even taking fights at LHW?

      • R

        Can you do any other tricks than repeat?

    • MuayThaiFood

      That statement has absolutely no merit. I had Vitor winning this one in a competitive fight and I’m sure Dana didn’t think it would be an easy fight for Bisping either. Anderson doesn’t need or look for protection.

      • http://www.CombatScienceMMA.com/ CombatScienceMMA

        What do you think will be next for Bisping? I think he will have a long ways back to being considered for title contention. Only b/c there’s other guys out there, there’s no shame in being beat by Vitor. Maybe Bisping/Rockhold?

  • George Sperry

    Missed the fight’s but I couldn’t be happier that the mouth from England got his rear end handed to him.
    I wonder if he still thinks Belfort quits and if he still believes he will be MW Champ.
    You know… he probably does, thus is Michael pisstream.

  • Seppo

    Lombard vs weidman and jacare vs belfort winners could be one option if lombard beats okami. In the meanwhile give Rockhold to Silva.

  • Madmaax9

    Would absolutely like to see a rematch between Belfort and Silva. To say he doesn’t deserve one because Silva finished him early is absurd. He got caught it, happens. The rematch would def be more competitive. Look at Valezquez vs JDS. Same hype leading up to that one and it was done in seconds. We all saw what happened in the Rematch. Weidman would be the only other middle weight worthy of mention. Lombard and Rockhold have done nothing worthy of tittle shot. ( At leadt not yet ).They beat mid level guys in smaller orginizations. If he won’t fight Belfort, they need to make the Jones or St. Pierre fight happen. There’s simply no one else.

    • ronnie

      That is exactly right vitor just got caught and after all he has done for the ufc! if anybody deserves a rematch against silva or Jones its vitor he has showed time and time again that his power could stop either fighter and to beat bisbing the way he did shows he deserves atleast a shot at silva!

    • MuayThaiFood

      Agree 100% and the way he was finished makes an even better case for a rematch. I mean seriously, nobody else saw that kick coming either even in their dreams. Do you prepare and train for something that’s never been used before in that fashion? I don’t think so.

      • http://twitter.com/JakeSimmons2000 Jake Simmons

        Agreed. There are only so many new MMA moves out there. The Jones sneaky elbows. Anderson’s front kick. The matrix moving around that Anderson does. Then there’s shorts grabbing and lubing up.

  • pops

    Mousasi, rustam khabil…,weidman, these are 3 whom will whoop anderson but dana will protect anderson from them. Also if lombard is on his game he wins too. These men are right in front of you dana you need not search any longer, just pick one they will show you, …anderson already has ducked weidman. I know mousasi is better than silva.there will be those who disagree but if fight happen you will see I was right but you need not apologize

    • denny

      So true

      • BaMMMMMMMM!

        making different accounts and agreeing with yourself doesnt make you right o_0….plus isnt rustham a lightweight !?!

    • El Gvapo

      You’ve named two fighters who aren’t even in the same weight class. Khabilov is a lightweight ffs.

  • mr.jackson

    Munoz use to spar with silva all the time and munoz was regularly getting best of silva so much so that munoz started calling out silva. Munoz at time was number 2 middleweight in world. Then comes undefeated weidmanand destroys munoz easily . This is why silva will not weidman

    • El Gvapo

      Ridiculous way of thinking. So by your logic ryo chonan beat silva, therefore anyone who has beaten chonan can beat Silva right? Notable fighters such as parisyan and baroni are all better than silva, plus we’ve got to consider everyone who’s beaten parisyan and baroni too. Sadollah, Diego Sanchez etc all these fighters would destroy Silva too then? Fool.

    • Fuzz

      Riiiiight, Denny, you fuckin’ dipshit

    • MuayThaiFood

      Yeah, and Rashad got the best of Jones too. Means nothing in the real world even if it were true and I’m not so sure you aren’t talking out your ass. Oh, and let’s not forget Steven Seagal gets the best of him in practice too. I suppose Anderson would duck him too.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Charlie-Phillips/1234886916 Charlie Phillips

    what about costa philippou he is on a 5 fight win streak and took out tim boestch in his last fight

    • http://twitter.com/JakeSimmons2000 Jake Simmons

      Tim wasn’t his usual self that fight. Mulligan. Phillippou is 1-2 fights away from a title shot. If he’s lucky enough to get a top-5 guy due to injury, and win in dominant fashion, it’s possible he could get a shot. But more likely, it will take a win against a top-10 guy, then another one against a top-5’er.

  • Ya you herd me

    Rockhold ducks no one you ******* keyboard kook! It’s called an injury…..Rockhold will beat Vitor and get the belt from Anderson….watch…

    • El Gvapo

      Woah, I think Rockhold’s mother just started an account.

  • http://www.CombatScienceMMA.com/ CombatScienceMMA

    We obviously need a clear contender for Silva. This division will have to sort itself out.

    • http://twitter.com/JakeSimmons2000 Jake Simmons

      Why? Silva said himself he’d like to defend the MW belt a few times before fighting Jones. Everyone can share!

      • http://www.CombatScienceMMA.com/ CombatScienceMMA

        I just wonder when enough is enough for some of the fans. Some believe Silva has done enough to prove himself as one of the greatest fighters and some even have the nerve to call him a can crusher and that he’s never had a real legit threat or whatever. I mean I wouldn’t mind seeing him fight the likes of Tim Kennedy/Luke Rokehold/Chris Weidman/Hector Lombard. Anyone you think is truly deserving of the next shot?

  • oface

    One person they are leaving out is constaninos philippou. Hes on 5 fight win streak and just tkod tim botsche the guy who beat hector lombart. Hes getting better every fight and is heavy handed.

    • Fuzz

      Silva would eat him for lunch. Philippou does have heavy hands, but the quality of his striking doesn’t even come close to that of Silva. Silva is too well-rounded in his striking game, much less his overall MMA arsenal, compared to Philppou.

    • David Singleton

      I don’t think he’s ready yet, he needs some time to develop.

  • DrRJE

    I doubt Rockhold is looking for his first UFC fight to be a supreme ass whooping…from what I hear, he’s spending more time with the ladies late night in downtown Santa Cruz than he is training these days…

    also heard that him and Maynard are opening a UFC gym in the Santa Cruz area…so the UFC might wanna build him up with a few fights before throwing him into the spider’s web.

  • eric

    gegard mousasi

  • bajafox

    I vote for Hendo

    • El Gvapo

      I agree with you. There’s no obvious contender now at middleweight and Hendo was ruled out of his title shot at LHW through injury. Sonnen is next up at LHW so I guess Hendo should be compensated with either a MW title shot or he fights silva at 205.

    • John Bunch

      I’ve wanted to see Hendo get another shot at him as well. Bet Hendo shows up with a better gas tank and has learned a lot from watching Chael fight Silva. I have a feeling Hendo’s top side bombs might sting a little more than Chael’s.

  • El Gvapo

    I can’t really see why Vitor shouldn’t get another shot though. Yeah he lost his first shot but so has everyone else. And he was so close to beating Bones on short notice too. For all Dana says people aren’t interested in seeing that fight again, I’m yet to hear anyone say it.

  • Tiddy28

    Still devastated by Bisping’s loss last night. Anyway, I’m not sure who Silva fights now. My instinct says that it should be Weidman, but there are a few other candidates like Rockhold, Lombard. Bisping’s loss really threw a wrench into the middleweight ladder.

    • http://twitter.com/JakeSimmons2000 Jake Simmons

      One things for sure: Weidman only needs 0-1 more fight, and it probably will be against a top 5 guy. He will either fight Anderson next, or Vitor or Rockhold. There’s no one else.

  • tyrone

    Lombard, mousasi, weidman, rashad will all beat silva to the white meat

    • http://twitter.com/JakeSimmons2000 Jake Simmons

      They sure have a better shot than some of the others had.

  • fightdoc

    Its not natural to want to fight someone who you think can beat you. That why silva wont fight weidman or jones but wants little gsp

  • shibby

    how the **** is anderson now ducking rashad too i wish they could just line these guys up for AS in whatever order and he can send them all packing and we can end all this ducking bull****

  • Kenny Powers

    This whole article is pointless. Time will pass and a clear-cut top contender will eventually break through and get his chance to fight for the title. And when that time comes, he will fight Anderson Silva, and no matter who it is: Vitor, Weidman, Lombard, Rockhold, Philippou or GSP, they will lose, just like everyone else. There is only one man that can give Anderson a run for his $, and that’s Jonny Bones, but even then i believe the Spider will find a way to win. In a few years, Anderson will retire with the belt, look back with a UFC record of 26-0 and will be remembered as the greatest ever. Period.

  • jansenmarquis

    I THINK SILVA VS JONES, OR SILVA VS GSP…..THATS WHAT A MONSTER FIGHT WOULD BE….

  • MMA FAN

    Jones needs to accept he’s a heavyweight and move up. Common man who you dodging. He looks way too lean at 205, he needs a good meal by the looks of it. A brilliant fighter but come on let’s see how good u really are against the likes of Cain and JDS. It’s the same as what the great Anderson Silvia has had to do. It only makes sense, he’s killing guys at 185. Jones is at 205. At these weights there right reach and shear size gives them an advantage. However they are both very skilled fighters.

  • MMA FAN

    *Height not right