We now have an answer to when, but we still don’t know whom UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva will next fight or where the bout will take place.
While questions swirled about Silva not fighting again until late 2013, UFC president Dana White on Thursday indicated that the consensus pound-for-pound top fighter in the world will return sooner than that… much sooner. And they are willing to accommodate him.
“He wants to fight this spring,” said White. “We’ll have a fight for him this spring.”
There are still a few details to work out. The first of which is Silva’s new contract. There is an offer currently on the table. White said that the UFC offered its champion an eight-fight deal, but he wanted 10.
The duration isn’t a problem, just the particulars, and they're likely to be worked out without much animosity. Silva won’t make as much money anywhere else, and the UFC doesn’t want to lose the greatest champion in the promotion’s history. They'll get it done.
Even the where of the fight will get sorted in short order.
The bigger question right now is whom will Silva step in the Octagon with?
Superfights with either Georges St-Pierre or Jon Jones could happen in the next year or two, but they won’t be next. Both men already have other fights lined up.
Vitor Belfort recently knocked Michael Bisping – who was next in line – out of contention. But Belfort was brutally knocked out by Silva just two years ago, so he’s going to need another win or two over other contenders to earn a rematch.
Chris Weidman is largely considered one of, if not thee top contender to Silva, but he is currently injured and not likely to return until this summer.
Mark Munoz lost to Weidman in his last fight, and is likewise on his way back from injury.
Hector Lombard is a possibility, if he beats Yushin Okami in Japan on March 3, although the UFC is likely to want to have an opponent lined up by then, if only for the purpose of having enough time to properly promote the fight.
Even Strikeforce import Luke Rockhold doesn’t appear to be on the UFC’s radar for Silva just yet. Rockhold brings his former promotion’s middleweight belt with him, but if things work out, it sounds as if he will be matched up with Belfort for his trip to the Octagon.
“That’s what we’re talking about,” White said hesitantly on Thursday when asked about Rockhold and Belfort. “There you go. I gave you your fight that isn’t done yet that we’re talking about.”
The matter of the fact is if Anderson Silva fights fans will tune in. He wants a new contract and the UFC is going to give it to him.
The only question now is: whom does Anderson Silva fight next?