There is only one super fight on the minds of UFC fans these days and it is Jon Jones vs. Anderson Silva. GSP vs. Silva is nice, but Silva vs. Jones is the fight to see. While Silva has refused the fight publicly for months, it appears that the UFC champion may be coming around.
It is funny because as I watched UFC 153, I felt something was in the works for this fight. UFC commentator Joe Rogan pushed the fight extremely hard and Dana White told reporters after the fight that he was committed to making it happen.
“I know my man says ‘No, no, no,'” White said. “But the amount of money that would be offered for that fight, I guarantee you I will make Anderson Silva say, ‘Yes, yes, yes.'”
The only two people standing in their way are Jones and Silva and it appears that one of them is starting to take a hard look at the millions he is losing out on by not taking the fight.
“Of course, I don’t want to be talking, but what if [Jones] accepts the fight with all the money Dana is offering? It would be difficult for me not to take the fight. It’s not the money that motivates me. I fight because I like it. So I don’t know. I wouldn’t want to do it, but if it happens, it would have to be at a catch weight without him putting his belt on the line. I already have my own title, and I don’t want to hold a title just to leave it there.”
Just the idea that Silva has even thought about what weight the fight would take place in shows me that he has come around. I have been extremely critical of Silva lately for refusing fights like this while taking a fight against Stephan Bonnar. I am not the only one and whether it is recent criticism, the money, or just the obvious challenge that any great athlete desires, the Spider seems to be in.
Make no mistake about it. Silva vs. Jones would be the biggest fight in MMA history. It would be the Pacquiao vs. Mayweather clash of our time. It would fill Cowboys Stadium or another football stadium without a problem. It would crossover and receive more mainstream coverage than any other fight that the UFC could possibly make. Fans who tuned out of MMA and the UFC would come back for this and share in a renewed interest in the sport. The money that all parties involved would make would be more than any other fight that the UFC could make or Jones and Silva could take. It’s a win-win-win for everyone.
Dana White has the fortunate luck in that the UFC promotes both fighters. This isn’t a case of having to go and sign a fighter elsewhere to make it happen. Both fighters are under the UFC umbrella and if he can’t make a deal here, it is on him. I was ridiculed by some last week when I wrote that White’s legacy rests on making this fight. I stand by that statement and I have to think that White would retire with a big hole when his career winds down if he couldn’t pull this one off.
I also think if you read between the lines here that the Georges St-Pierre vs. Anderson Silva fight is not happening. I think part of the reason that Silva was so cold to Jones is that he felt he could make just as much money by taking an easier fight against GSP. The idea that Silva is even considering fighting Jones tells me that the GSP fight is in trouble.
The last man standing here is Jones. Jones has also publicly refused to fight Silva.Unfortunately it may not be as easy as making this a catch weight fight to get it done.
“First of all, I will never go down in weight,” Jones said back in July. “Second, I have no interest in fighting Anderson Silva. He’s a guy I really look up to.”
When pressed as to exactly why Jones wouldn’t want to fight Silva he gave a very odd answer, that certainly won’t endear him to his already critical public.
“We’re in completely different weight classes. We both have sponsor deals and things that are really important to us. A big part of that sponsorship package is being a winner and being a champion. Having us fight each other means one of our championships goes away.”
Regardless the fight will have to wait. Jones is already committed to fighting Chael Sonnen in April. He has also talked about wanting to fight Dan Henderson after that to put UFC 151 to rest (his words, not mine). Silva will probably wait until GSP finally closes the door and then look at defending his middleweight title. I suppose the UFC could pull this off by the end of 2013 but 2014 seems a bit more likely when it comes to booking a stadium and setting up all the right logistics.
And it’ll be worth the wait.
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