[adinserter block=”1″] Anderson Silva silenced his critics with a knockout win over Forrest Griffin in Round 1 at UFC 101. Griffin was believed to be the first guy who could challenge Silva. If Silva handled his first real threat that easy, who is left that can beat him? Can UFC even challenge him at this point? If you are UFC, what do you do with Anderson Silva?
Anderson Silva is both UFC’s greatest gift and biggest problem. Fighting in two weight classes gives UFC a ton of potential Super Fights for Silva. Yet Silva is so good, that all of these fights could ruin UFC’s most marketable stars in a second. Forrest Griffin is a prime example of a fighter who may never be taken seriously again as a result of UFC 101.
Who will give Silva his toughest test? Dana White is already on record stating that Silva has cleaned out the division. Is it in UFC’s best interest to move Silva up to 205 permanently to make the division competitive? Will Silva do the same in UFC’s toughest division at light heavyweight? I present a few possibilities at best of guys that can and may test the Spider if given the opportunity.
Georges St. Pierre – Fans have been screaming for GSP vs. Anderson Silva match for a year now. It appears more and more that GSP isn’t too interested in this fight. GSP has danced around the question whenever asked about fighting Silva. Even UFC match makers don’t seem too interested in making this fight? Why would such an obvious Super Fight be avoided? Because GSP and UFC know that St. Pierre won’t win.
GSP’s toughest opponent thus far has been B.J. Penn. Penn fought above his normal fighting weight, giving GSP a slight advantage. GSP would be the one having to come up for a fight with Silva. I think that with the power of Silva, GSP’s ground game would be negated. At the same time, I don’t think GSP can match Silva on his feet. I think GSP would give him a challenge, but it would be a far cry from the ultimate match that would be expected.
Dan Henderson – Henderson will be Silva’s next opponent at middleweight. Dan has the distinction of being the only man to ever win a round against Silva. Henderson has said himself that he got away from his game plan in the second round of their previous fight. Will things be different if Hendo sticks to his game in their next fight?
I don’t think there is anyone at middleweight that has a better chance of beating Silva. Henderson exposed Silva’s weak points in their first fight. On their feet, Silva has the better skill set to out box Henderson. I think Silva knows this and will do all he can to finish this fight fast and on their feet. However, if there is anyone that can get a lucky shot in on Silva it is Dan Henderson.
Lyoto Machida – I think UFC will begin pushing a Machida-Silva Super Fight to take heat off of GSP. Machida has just dominated his last few opponents in UFC. Other than Tito Ortiz, I can’t recall Machida even being challenged in the octagon. The light heavyweight champion looked flawless against Rashad Evans to the point that UFC announcer Joe Rogan proclaimed it the “Machida Era.”
I don’t think this would be as much of a challenge to Silva as some would think. Machida is actually the perfect opponent for Silva. Machida will sit back and not take risks. Machida is elusive like Silva but I don’t think he is as powerful. On paper this looks like the ultimate match of unbeatable fighters. However, I don’t think it will present the excitement that would be expected from a fight of this caliber.
Rampage Jackson – The hype for a fight like this would be second to none. Rampage will undoubtedly talk a good game and have people believing. The problem with Rampage is that you never know what Rampage you are going to get. I don’t think a focused Rampage on the top of his game would stand much of a chance against Silva.
Rampage is a great all-around striker and grappler, but Silva is better. I could see Rampage getting frustrated by the middle of the second round. Forrest Griffin already wrote the book on how to beat Rampage. Silva will just bob and weave with strikes until Rampage opens up for a knockout. I think of all the potential money matches on the table for Silva, Rampage would be the easiest opponent for the Spider.
Vitor Belfort – Dana White has gone on record and believes that Vitor could challenge Anderson at 185. I just don’t know how interested Belfort is in fighting at 185. Like Rampage, you just don’t know what you will get out of Vitor. To give Belfort his due, he has looked great in his last few fights.
I don’t see this one as a big problem at all for Silva. I think Silva has the advantage over Belfort in all of Belfort’s strongest techniques. Like the Machida fight, I also think this one would be lackluster in terms of fan expectations. I will wait and see how Belfort looks against Rich Franklin before I label him as any kind of a threat to Anderson Silva.
Randy Couture – Couture is the wildcard in this bunch. Couture has already stated that he would be willing to move down in weight to fight Lyoto Machida. I love Randy’s heart, but at his age he just can’t match power against top heavyweights like Lesnar, Mir, and Congo. Couture should be fighting at light heavyweight in my opinion.
[adinserter block=”2″]I think this match could be very interesting. Couture still posses some heavy hands. It will really come down to quickness and reflexes in my opinion. Can Randy at his age react quickly against an open Anderson? Hendo already wrote the playbook on how a great wrestler should fight Silva. If Randy has the reflexes in him, he could ground and pound Silva for three rounds at 205. I would actually give Randy the best shot of pulling the upset of all the above mentioned fighters.
In the end, UFC is faced with the problem of having the greatest fighter in MMA on their roster. Do you sacrifice and expose your elite fighters to Silva or do you offer him some unique tests? Could Anderson Silva be the first guy to dominate two divisions in UFC history? What happens if he decides to move up to heavyweight?
Anderson Silva is UFC’s biggest asset and their biggest nightmare.
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