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Anderson Silva-Roy Jones Jr. Superfight Inches Closer to Reality

Strong Signs Point to a 2014 Superfight If Silva and Jones Win Their December Bouts

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COMMENTARY | An Anderson Silva vs. Roy Jones, Jr., superfight in 2014?

The persistent rumor could finally become reality provided Anderson Silva beats Chris Weidman in their rematch later this month and Roy Jones prevails in a tune-up boxing match with little-known Frenchman Zine Eddine Bamakhlouf.

A proposed Silva-Jones bout has long been nothing more than babble, especially since boxing's former pound-for-pound king has flirted with the idea of boxing against MMA stars such as Nick Diaz and Quinton "Rampage" Jackson but those fights also never materialized. Seems like every time you turned around some MMA fighter wanted to fight Roy Jones - no one more than Silva, who has incessantly nagged Dana White about the dream matchup for years. The UFC president never gave his blessing, fearing such a fight could be perceived as a money-grabbing spectacle and perhaps long-term hurt the UFC's precious image as a sport.

Last week, however, the UFC mastermind indicated he's no longer strongly opposed to the concept of Jones and Silva fighting and (rather curiously) that Roy Jones will attend the Anderson Silva-Chris Weidman sequel.

"I'm in this position where I feel like Roy wants to fight (Silva) and (Silva) wants to fight Roy. I feel like I'm in this position to try and make both of these guys happy, but it drives me crazy," White said during an interview on Fox Sports Live. "I would love for Roy Jones Junior to focus on his next opponent, and Anderson focus on his, and we'll talk about all this stuff. I know Roy's coming to the fight … we'll see what happens."

Not only did the UFC general publicly deliver his strongest comments yet on the potential superfight, but Roy Jones also made tantalizing comments last week and sounded like a man who expects the fight to happen.

"I want to be ready for Anderson Silva in case he beats (Chris) Weidman," Jones, who last fought roughly 18 months ago, told's Dan Rafael to explain the motivation behind him fighting in Moscow on Dec. 21. "Silva has made it clear that if he wins he wants me next; I'm here for him. That's a fight that intrigues a lot of people. But I can't fight Anderson Silva coming off such a long lay-off so I needed to get a fight first. If it wasn't for Anderson Silva calling me out I wouldn't be fighting this fight."

Jones, you might remember, sat cageside with Dana White at UFC 162 and was shocked as everyone to see Anderson Silva get knocked out that day. He reportedly comforted the fallen legend backstage afterward.

What fight fan wouldn't want to see it?

Something serious is brewing here, folks - if both fighters win their next contest. We've moved beyond conjecture; the bout makes sense on so many levels that the UFC would be foolish not to arrange it. It's a fight both fighters crave, it's a fight that would make a lot of money for Silva, Jones and the UFC, and it's a fight a lot of fans would hunger to see. So the arrows are starting to point in one direction.

If both fighters win, I predict the mega-match will be booked, and I believe it will offer a surprising twist. While media consensus seems to be that Silva and Jones would meet in a boxing match, I am going against the grain on that one; I predict that Roy Jones will make his MMA debut against Silva inside the octagon (a plausible possibility that Yahoo Sports' Kevin Iole first reported earlier this year after receiving a text from Roy Jones himself stating precisely that). Though Jones is well past his prime, 4-4 in his past eight fights and brutally knocked out several times in his career, it's safe to estimate that the novelty of one of boxing's biggest legends versus a UFC legend would generate north of 1 million pay-per-views and produce the most handsome payday of Anderson Silva's illustrious 15-year fight career.

I'll explain why Silva-Roy Jones tussling inside the octagon, despite some claiming the UFC risks egg on its face should Jones defeat the Brazilian icon at his own game, is probably the smarter play and will likely make even more money than the boxing match. For one thing, in my mind a boxing match between the two offers no suspense - you already know that even a faded Roy Jones, surely not the best but still world-class, would dominate Silva in a straight-up boxing match. Silva is a fantastic mixed martial artist, yes, but in terms of pure boxing he is a far cry from world championship or even Top 20 caliber.

But an MMA battle between the two gets a little more interesting because Jones will always have the proverbial puncher's chance and we've never really seen Anderson Silva have to resort to wrestling takedowns to win a fight (and you have to think the Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt would need to rely on wrestling to win this fight). We've never witnessed a more dangerous and devastating puncher inside the octagon than Roy Jones (even though he turns 45 years old in January. Trust me, he'd smoke anyone in the UFC in a straight-up boxing match). And we get to see Roy Jones step into a cage for the first time in his career. We get to see if the one-dimensional pro boxer gets eaten alive while out of his element, as most expect.Watching this kind of fight never gets old. Some people call it a spectacle but it's part of the UFC's origins and style-versus-style is something that continues to capture the imagination of millions of people. I miss it, to be honest.

If you are still stubborn enough to think that Silva-Jones would happen in a boxing ring then kindly answer this: When is the last time the UFC, in its 20-year history, promoted or co-promoted a boxing match?

Exactly - never.

And when is the last time the UFC promoted a fight in a ring instead of a cage?

Exactly - never.

Do you really think the UFC -- a company purchased for $2 million and now astoundingly estimated at north of $2 billion -- do you really think such savvy businesspeople are going to bypass such a golden opportunity to promote their own sport and instead promote a boxing match? When have they ever altered their contracts to let a top UFC fighter go fight a pro boxer inside a ring? When?

Exactly - never.

And we know former UFC fighter Rampage Jackson, now fighting under the banner of UFC competitor Bellator, is lobbying hard to box Roy Jones. Maybe it would happen, maybe not. But if you were Dana White wouldn't you want to beat Bellator to the punch and reach a deal with Roy Jones first? You bet. You'd want to slam the door on your competitor and win all the glory and profits for yourself.

Debunking the 'spectacle' mythology; why Silva-Jones wouldn't harm the UFC brand

Now, while UFC officials may privately fear looking like a spectacle for booking a relatively one-dimensional fighter to compete in a mixed martial arts bout, there is of course plenty of precedent for the organization doing just that (and UFC shouldn't be ashamed of that fact, either). We saw UFC eagerly and unapologetically ride the Brock Lesnar train - welcoming with open arms an inexperienced fighter/ NCAA champion wrestler/WWE wrestling star who boasted a splendid combination of a big mouth, cartoon character physique and mainstream recognition. Lesnar, you might recall, fought for the UFC title with only a 2-1 professional MMA record. He'd been fighting pro for less than 18 months. We're not likely to ever see that again, if Lesnar fighting for the belt at 2-1 wasn't an embarrassment then I can't imagine how bringing in Roy Jones and his 40 knockouts and world titles in multiple weight classes would be.

So we've seen this type of experiment before inside the cage. And we've seen UFC allow boxing standout James Toney to fight Randy Couture with no MMA experience - inside the octagon.

And we've seen Kimbo Slice fight inside the octagon. The UFC risked the "spectacle" accusation by bringing aboard the YouTube street-fighting sensation, but the organization survived that just fine, too.

However, we've never seen UFC do things the other way around. It's not impossible for the UFC to co-promote a boxing match and let Silva and Jones battle in a ring - it's just not the smartest play. And Dana White almost always makes the smartest play. And he's going to wisely want a cut of whatever a Silva-Jones fight generates. If he makes the fight I bet it will be under the UFC banner.

If the fight happens it would be huge for the UFC: Put Silva-Jones in the main event, do great pay-per-view numbers, gain even more exposure for your brand from the casual mainstream and boxing fans who normally don't watch much UFC. And use the massive attention as an opportunity to promote some of your rising stars fighting on undercard matchups. And do away with the potential hassle of co-promotion - which the UFC has only done once with the now-defunct Pride organization, a co-promotion that blew up in the UFC's face, I might add, when the UFC sent fighters like Chuck Liddell to Pride but the Japanese organization reneged on their promise to do the same.

So if Silva wins the fight, White and UFC fans can continue to claim MMA fighters are the baddest dudes on the planet. It would be further ammunition that the MMA is superior to boxing.

And if Silva loses, well, it won't be so bad after all. "The Spider" would be 39 years old by the time the fight happens and UFC officials and fans could simply chalk up a loss to Jones as a lucky punch or simply a sign that Silva's best years are behind him. There's not much shame for UFC if they spin it that way, which they easily could.

Frank "Da Tank" Curreri, a world-class Brazilian Jiu Jitsu black belt with over 230 grappling wins in live competition, lives in Las Vegas and has been covering UFC for the past 11 years. He has worked for UFC and as a news journalist for the Las Vegas Review-Journal, The Salt Lake Tribune and a FOX news affiliate in Las Vegas.

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