It’s official, a massive UFC match-up between Anderson Silva and Nick Diaz will take place at UFC 183 on January 31st in Las Vegas.
This scintillating showdown between two of the sports biggest stars has been rumored for a few months now since Silva’s camp indicated that Diaz was amongst a shortlist of fighters he was considering for his comeback fight.
Silva has been out of action since suffering a horrific leg break during his second encounter with Chris Weidman at UFC 168 in December of last year.
That could have been a career-threatening injury, particularly as Silva has now turned 39 years of age, but ‘The Spider’ has shown that despite all the fame and fortune he’s enjoyed over the course of his career that he’s still just a fighter at heart by vowing to return to the Octagon.
Silva’s rehab from his leg break progressed remarkably quickly and he’s now able to spar again, though not quite at 100% when it comes to things like kicks and jumping. Despite his apparent eagerness to return to the sport, the Brazilian superstar has erred on the side of cation regarding his comeback and so has been saying since early in his recovery process that he wouldn’t fight again until 2015.
Meanwhile, Diaz has been out of action for even longer than Silva, having not fought since an unsuccessful title bid against GSP back in March of last year.
That fight boosted the Stockton native’s bank balance considerably and so he decided to unnofficially “retire” despite only being 29 at the time.
The UFC have tried to coax him back into the cage several times since then, but had been unsuccessful up until the point that Silva started mentioning his name at which point it seems that Diaz began to sit up and pay attention.
Diaz had indicated previously that he’d only return for a title shot or a ‘superfight’, and it doesn’t get any bigger than Anderson Silva, still widely considered to be the best fighter ever to compete in the UFC.
Silva Vs Diaz is without a doubt the biggest fight the UFC has put together since Silva’s rematch with Weidman at UFC 168 which drew just over a million pay-per-view buys.
Prior to that the UFC’s biggest drawing PPV had in fact been Diaz’s fight with GSP which pulled in just shy of a million buys at UFC 158, which gives an indication of just how big of a blockbuster this upcoming ‘superfight’ could be.
There’s an argument to be made that UFC 183 could prove to be bigger than either of those though. Silva’s comeback from the leg break was always going to generate a great deal of interest to both the media and fans regardless of who he was fighting, but the fact that it comes against Diaz adds extra spice to the occasion.
It’s a match-up that stacks up well on a number of different levels including the fact that they are both coming off long lay-offs and have each suffered back-to-back defeats, while each will no doubt relish the fact that the other is likely to want to stand trade rather than take the fight to the mat – though they are both capable there if it comes to that.
Silva’s leg break, and any physical, or perhaps more importantly mental, hangover he’s suffered from that could leave him at a disadvantage heading into this fight, but he’ll also have an advantage in that the bout is scheduled to take place at middleweight, whereas Diaz is a natural welterweight.
Whichever way you look at it this Super Bowl weekend clash is going to be a fascinating encounter and has the potential to be one of the biggest UFC fights of all time.