The UFC has Wanderlei Silva’s next fight all picked out for him. The only problem is Wanderleis Silva has yet to accept.
The one time Pride middleweight champion has been on the sidelines since his win over Michael Bisping at UFC 110 last February, dealing with injuries. Now that Silva is ready to come back, he’s turned down one fight already and wants another fight that the UFC has no interest in making.
UFC president Dana White is ready to put Silva in the cage against Vitor Belfort in July, most likely at UFC 132, but Wanderlei doesn’t seem to be on board with the idea.
Silva actually wants a whole different fight, but White doesn’t want to make that one happen.
“We offer him the Vitor (Belfort) fight, and now he’s on Twitter lobbying to fight Chris Leben,” White said about Silva’s next fight when speaking to MMAWeekly.com
“I don’t want him to fight Chris Leben, I want him to fight Vitor Belfort. Vitor Belfort has accepted the fight, wants the fight, now we’re waiting for Wanderlei to accept.”
Belfort is coming off his stunning first round loss at the hands of UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva just a few weeks ago, but he’s ready to take on his next challenge, and that would be a rematch against Wanderlei Silva.
Belfort and Silva first met in 1998 during UFC 17.5, which was also titled UFC: Ultimate Brazil. Belfort blasted his fellow countryman early in the fight, and finished with a flurry of strikes at just :44 seconds into the fight.
Silva has become a bit of an anomaly to White lately. The Brazilian has always been known as a fighter who will face anyone that steps in the cage against him, but he’s now turned down one fight and is hesitant about another bout.
“Wanderlei Silva turned down Brian Stann, too,” White stated. “Wanderlei turned down the fight with Brian Stann. We asked him to take that fight and he turned it down.
“That’s the fight (against Belfort) that I want. Wanderlei is lobbying for a Chris Leben fight.”
If the fight does get made, White is looking for a summertime showdown between Silva and Belfort, and wouldn’t save the fight for the UFC event headed to Brazil in August.
“It would be in Las Vegas, in July I think,” White said about a potential Silva vs. Belfort 2 fight.
The ball is now in Silva’s court if he wants to accept the fight with Belfort or continue to try and convince the UFC of a different fight.