Since joining the ranks of the Ultimate Fighting Championship less than two years ago, middleweight champion Anderson Silva has all but cleaned house. He debuted with a dismantling of highly touted Ultimate Fighter alumnus Chris Leben, immediately captured the title from then-champion Rich Franklin, and hasn’t looked back since.
He fended off challenges by Ultimate Fighter season four winner Travis Lutter and seven-time King of Pancrase Nate Marquardt, before once again stopping Franklin. Most recently, at UFC 82, he submitted former Pride champion Dan Henderson to solidify his position as the No. 1 middleweight in the world.
In short, Silva appears unstoppable.
There are still challenges for him to face in the Octagon – Yushin Okami springs immediately to mind and a much touted drop to welterweight to challenge Georges St. Pierre – but he may soon be looking to another challenge, outside of his chosen sport.
“Anderson really would love to fight Roy Jones, Jr. in a boxing match,” says his manager, Ed Soares, confirming recent speculation. “It’s not just talk, we really would like to put that fight together.”
That’s not to say the Silva discounts Jones’ abilities. Both he and Jones, at times, have been regarded as the best pound-for-pound fighter in their respective sports. But Silva feels that fighters in mixed martial arts are often unjustly criticized as not being as technically proficient as their boxing counterparts, a misconception that he would like to dispel.
“We respect Jones’ boxing ability and think he’s one of the best,” said Soares, “but we’re tired of different boxers saying that MMA fighters aren’t technical. Anderson would love to fight Roy Jones in a boxing match under boxing rules to prove that MMA fighters are technical, too.”
There has been much chatter in the past about Jones stepping into the Octagon to fight; something that he spoke to BoxingScene.com’s Mark Vester about last year, saying, “Now, I can’t get on the ground and start wrestling because I know nothing about that. But if I hit him before he gets to the ground, he’s not going to get up and have the chance to wrestle.”
Unlike many boxers, Jones has actually had a lot of positives to say about the sport, as he told Vester, “UFC is the best fighting the best and that’s what boxing has to do. If you are an ultimate fighter, you are going to fight someone who is going to fight. In UFC, if you lose to a good fighter, you lost, you still know you are good fighter, and you come back the next day and fight again. In boxing, if you lose and that’s it. You are done. I lose a few fights, they want to tell me I’m washed up and I don’t have it no more.”
Thus far though, Jones hasn’t commented about fighting a mixed martial artist on his terms, in his ring. Whether it ever becomes a reality or not, it is a fight that would surely be marquee both for boxing aficionados and mixed martial arts purists alike.