Who middleweight champion Anderson Silva will fight next has been the subject of much debate recently, but it turns out we’re going to have to wait longer than expected to find out as he’s planned an extended break from the Octagon.
Speaking to Brazilian MMA site TATAME, Silva says he has no intention of calling out welterweight champion GSP if he wins this weekend despite the fact that he will be attending the event in Montreal.
Furthermore, he reveals that he doesn’t intend to fight again until “the end of next year” as he wants to attend to other matters in addition to starring in a movie with Steven Seagal.
If Silva does intend to take the best part of a year out then that throws the UFC’s plans for next year into disarray.
Talk of Silva getting a superfight in the first half of 2013 has grown to fever pitch over the past few months, with even Dana White admitting that Silva Vs Georges St.Pierre looked like it had a good chance of happening and even mentioned the 80,000 seater Dallas Cowboys stadium as a potential venue, while he was also talking up a potential match-up with Jon Jones.
In fact it’s believed that internally at UFC HQ there was a feeling that perhaps Silva could fight both men next year, but that rather ambitious plan now appears to be dead in the water.
Superfights aside, it also changes the complexion of the upper reaches of both the 170lb and 185lb divisions.
For instance, from the sounds of things GSP will now be defending his welterweight title again, assuming he wins on Saturday night, rather than moving up to face Silva, but who would get the title shot?
St.Pierre has been vocal in the past about his desire to fight Nick Diaz who’s current marijuana suspension ends in February making him a possibility, but the fact he’s coming off a loss suggests that perhaps the winner of Saturday night’s co-main event between Martin Kampmann and Johny Hendricks could now be in pole position.
Meanwhile, the top contenders in the middleweight division will have been hit particularly hard by this news as it could mean the title is off the shelf for a year, or even longer if Silva comes back late next year and then takes on one of the aforementioned superfights with GSP or Jones.
In fact, Michael Bisping has already called for an interm title shot against his next opponent Vitor Belfort in January if Silva does go ahead with his year out.
Chris Weidman and Tim Boetsch who fight at UFC 155 in December will no doubt have something to say about that though, and if the UFC did intend to go down that route then perhaps the winners of those two fights would make a better interim title fight.
2012 has been a tough year for the UFC as far as match-making goes thanks to a heady mixture of injuries, suspensions and unforeseen circumstances consistently proving to be a thorn in their side, and this could be the first warning sign that 2013 is set to feature more of the same.