by Damon Martin – MMAWeekly.com
When UFC 110 was originally conceived, one of the first fights expected for the card was a middleweight bout pitting former Pride champion Wanderlei Silva against noted Judo champion and Japanese fighter Yoshihiro Akiyama.
Plans changed, however, and “Ultimate Fighter” season three winner Michael Bisping was slotted against Silva instead. Since that time, Akiyama has been sitting on the sidelines waiting for his time to fight.
With Silva getting the win over Bisping in Australia, UFC president Dana White was quick to point out that Akiyama doesn’t want just any fight… he wants Wanderlei Silva.
“Akiyama wants to fight Wanderlei very bad,” White said. “It’s a big fight that he wants. He wants this fight. We offered him another fight and he said he wants Wanderlei.”
There is no timetable for if the fight will actually be Silva’s next challenge, as the Brazilian literally just finished his first bout at 185 pounds, but White says it’s possible.
“Wanderlei’s sitting here with stitches in his chin, and a black eye and everything else so he’s going to go home, relax, heal, and then we’ll talk to Wanderlei and see when he’s ready again,” commented White. “But yeah, Akiyama wants that fight really bad.”
Never one to back down from a challenge, Silva’s mood went from a smile to a grimace. He was quick to respond now that the gauntlet has been thrown.
“Akiyama,” said Silva when asked who he wants to fight next.
White knew that the pot had been stirred, and Silva looks like he’s on a mission.
“It just pissed him off that I said Akiyama wants to fight him, so now he wants Akiyama,” White said about Silva’s next challenge.