Just moments after his decisive TKO victory over Chael Sonnen, questions about who will be Anderson Silva’s next opponent had already started to be asked. In a division that he’s basically cleaned out, there seems to be a consensus that there is nobody left for Silva. But, Dana White and Silva would beg to differ.
There are middleweights that are one or two wins away from making a valid case to a title shot and there are also fighters from other weight classes that fans would love to see face Silva. Here’s a list of 5 “possible” candidates:
Mark Munoz (12-2-0): The “Filipino Wrecking Machine” was just a win away before elbow surgery sidelined him for several months. Now that he’s all healed up and set to main event UFC on FUEL TV 4 in a middleweight bout between Chris Weidman. He’s riding a 4-fight win streak and is 7-2 in the UFC. A win over Weidman will push him closer to a title shot, but many are saying Munoz will still be another win away.
Chris Weidman (8-0-0): The former NCAA All-American wrestler has adjusted to life as a MMA fighter quite well. He’s 4-0 in the UFC and two of those wins came via submission. His biggest win thus far was over Demian Maia, who he defeated by unanimous decision in a bout that he took on less than three weeks notice. If he defeats Munoz on July 11 it’ll move him up into top-5 talk, but would leave him with room left to climb on the ladder to a title shot.
Hector Lombard (31-2-1): Bellator’s former middleweight champion is set to make his long-awaited UFC debut at UFC 149 against Tim Boetsch. Although new to the promotion, Lombard has been tearing up middleweights all over the world. The Cuban’s last loss came in November of 2006 against Gegard Mousasi at PRIDE – Bushido 13. Will his track record be enough for one win in the UFC to lead straight to a title shot? If it were possible in any weight division, it might be middleweight. Likely depends on how impressive of a win it is.
Jon Jones (16-1-0): The UFC’s light-heavyweight champion is on the type of roll that reminds many of Anderson Silva. His only professional loss came in the UFC, but was due to a DQ by way of illegal downward elbows. There’s still competition in the LHW division for Jones to battle with and he has no real reason to need a fight versus Silva. As of right now, both Silva and Jones are saying that a showdown is highly unlikely. But, if both continue their string of dominance then the talks might pick up.
Georges St. Pierre (22-2-0): Before there was Jones, the dream fight for fans was Silva vs. Georges St. Pierre. Pierre was always alongside Silva when talks of “pound-for-pound king” were brought up. With the emergence of Jones and serious injury sidelining him since late-2011, GSP has taken a backseat in the P4P talk. But, with his return bout at UFC 154 against Carlos Condit to unify the welterweight and interim welterweight title, St. Pierre could lay claim to overtake Jones and Silva. A bout between Silva and GSP, albeit intriguing, has lost a lot of luster. Of the five fighters brought up, Pierre is the least likely to happen.
The last two fighters on that list are long shots, but still match-ups that would be intriguing. Other possible names are Brian Stann, Michael Bisping and Alan Belcher. If you can think of anymore more, let me know on Twitter (@NiteshDutt) or comment down below.
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