With Anderson Silva on a self-imposed shelf, should UFC give an interim belt?

Maggie Hendricks

Word came last week that UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva will be cageside for the welterweight championship bout between Georges St-Pierre and Carlos Condit. Assuming St-Pierre wins, could a staredown between Silva and GSP be the harbinger of a superfight between the two champs?

Come on now. By now we know it's never that easy with Silva. Sometimes, he'll take a fight on short notice with a bigger fighter to save a card. Sometimes he adamantly refuses a fight. He has kept the fight world guessing for years. Why would he stop now?

Silva told Brazilian outlet Tatame he doesn't want to return to the cage until the end of next year. He has non-fighting in the UFC business to attend to, including working on a new gym and filming a movie.

If he does wait until late 2013 to fight, it means the middleweight belt will be on ice for more than a year. Silva's last middleweight fight was in July at UFC 148. Middleweight Michael Bisping has been pushing for a title shot for years, so he came up with a solution:

Well, that's an interesting idea, Michael, but wrong fight. Bisping is fighting Vitor Belfort at UFC on FX 7 in Brazil in January. If Bisping wins, it will be just his second victory since losing to Chael Sonnen. Discounting Belfort's loss to Jon Jones since it was in another weight class, he still has just two wins since losing to Silva in his last title shot.

Tim Boetsch and Chris Weidman are fighting at UFC 155. Weidman is undefeated and destroyed Mark Munoz in their July bout. Boetsch has not lost since he was submitted by Phil Davis in 2010. If the UFC wants to hand out interim belts, this is the fight that should be considered.

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