This evening Anderson Silva proved once again why he’s undoubtedly the best pound-for-pound mixed martial artist on the planet as he defeated his nemesis Chael Sonnen for a second time.
He’s now gone an unprecedented 15 fights in the UFC without defeat, including 10 successful defences of his middleweight title.
Remarkable stuff, and so yet again we’re left to wonder who can provide a challenge for the sports best fighter next?
Truth be told, at middleweight there isn’t really a definitive challenger left for him to face.
Of those left, former Bellator middleweight champion Hector Lombard, who’s undefeated in 25 fights and is renowned as a devasating striker, has been tipped as a potential title challenger. He first needs to prove that he can perform on the biggest stage in the sport first though by taking on Tim Boetsch at the next ‘UFC On FOX’ event.
Michael Bisping and Alan Belcher are two other names that stand out from the pack at the moment.
Bisping is coming off a loss to Sonnen, but it was such a closely contested fight that it’s not done much to stop the momentum of his four-fight winning streak prior to that, and he’s been talking up the idea of a bout with the champion for some time, and like Sonnen he has a knack for being able to talk his way into a big fight. Not only that, but Silva has said in the past that he’d welcome a fight with the Brit.
Belcher’s on a four-fight winning streak of his own, but like Bisping he needs another big win under his belt first before he can make a strong claim for title contention, so the obvious answer would be to pit Bisping Vs Belcher for a shot at the title.
Of course Silva’s career can’t go on forever, as much as we’d all love it too, and so it’s important he gets the biggest fights possible, and so that takes us into the realm of ‘superfights’.
A fight with Georges St.Pierre has been talked about for a long time, but that’ll have to be kept on the backburner for now due to the welterweight champion’s current injury and title defense against interim champ Carlos Condit after that.
The winner of Jon Jones Vs Dan Henderson in September would fit in better at this moment in time, though Jones and Silva have indicated in the past that they are not keen on the idea.
If Henderson was to defeat Jones however then a rematch with Silva either at 185lbs or 205lbs is certainly a strong possibility.
My final suggestion would be Rashad Evans who recently indicated that he’d be willing to move down to 185lbs to fight Silva for the title.
As far as potential ‘superfights’ go, this is perhaps the most realistic option right now. Evans doesn’t have a fight scheduled as things stand and the former light-heavyweight champion brings the kind of star power that would likely appeal to Silva too who’s stated in the past year that he’s interested in marquee fights at this stage of his career.
So, for my money Silva Vs Evans would be the ideal fight to happen next, and that would also give time for the likes of Lombard, Bisping and Belcher scrap it out to establish who becomes the next No.1 contender at 185lbs.