UFC President Dana White and fight matchmaker Joe Silva have a serious problem on their hands, as its going to be difficult finding a suitable opponent for Anderson Silva that will be both competitive and exciting to the league's fan base.
After Silva's clash with Chael Sonnen at UFC 148, it seems that just about anyone not named Georges St-Pierre or Jon Jones would be a major letdown if matched up with the Brazilian legend.
Silva Not Interested In Fighting Jon Jones
Since Silva said he isn't willing to move up to the light heavyweight ranks to take on Jones, and while St-Pierre is still sidelined with an injury, I believe it would make sense at this point to have the champ defend one of his two early-career losses.
Silva's last loss, besides a flukey illegal upkick that resulted in a disqualification to Yushin Okami in 2006, was to Ryo Chonan in 2004. Before that, Silva lost to Daiju Takase at Pride 26 in 2003.
Obviously, Chonan and Takase aren't household names to most fight fans, but the UFC could sell them as legitimate opponents and challengers for Silva's belt by promoting it as the champ avenging his early-career losses. That would make for a far more interesting storyline than a tilt between Silva and Michael Bisping, for instance.
Silva vs Ryo Chonan
Both Chonan and Takase are still active in MMA, and both men are close in age to Silva. Chonan didn't have much success when the UFC brought him in to fight in 2007 through 2009, as he went just 1-3 before moving to the Dream and Deep promotions.
However, we all know that styles make fights, and Chonan's spectacular flying scissor heel hook in 2003 caused Silva to immediately tapout.
It was one of the most exciting moments in recent MMA history, and the UFC could use that clip to hype up a rematch between Chonan and Silva.
Silva vs Takase
As for Takase, who caught Silva in a triangle choke in 2003, he's riding a four-fight unbeaten streak dating back to 2009. He's just 10-13-2 overall, but he deserves some respect from fight fans being that he's one of just two men to get Silva to tap.
Silva is a cut above the talent pool in the UFC's middleweight division, and fighting Michael Bisping or Brian Stann would be a letdown after his much-hyped brawl with Sonnen.
UFC fans would get much more excited about Silva having the opportunity to wipe away one of the losses from early in his career.
Who should Anderson Silva fight next? Let me know in the comments.
Eric Holden is a lifelong UFC fan and supporter of the sport of mixed martial arts. Follow him on Twitter @ericholden.
- Sports & Recreation
- Martial Arts
- Anderson Silva
- Ryo Chonan
- Daiju Takase