At this point in his MMA career, Anderson Silva has the right to pick and choose his opponents to an extent. The winner of sixteen straight UFC fights, “The Spider” has laid his claim the greatest fighter of all time in MMA. And while there have been some head scratching moments, Silva has time and time again wowed fans with this skills. His hit list is unparalleled as well. The names he has defeated (Dan Henderson, Forrest Griffin, and Rich Franklin to name a few) are the who’s who of MMA. To question his current place as the kingpin of MMA is hard to dispute.
Moving forward, there are three names that stick out as potential opponents for Silva: Georges St. Pierre, Jon Jones, and Chris Weidman. Silva seems to have settled on St. Pierre as his next opponent, assuming the UFC welterweight champion defeats Carlos Condit in his November return. Assuming that all the cards fall in place, a long awaited super fight between the UFC’s longest reigning champions seems to be the right move.
Here are five other bouts I’d like to see booked in the aftermath of UFC 153.
Jon Fitch versus Demian Maia
Both Fitch and Maia impressed this past Saturday. Fitch, ever the grinder, put one of his best and most exciting performances against up-and-comer Erick Silva and got back in the win column. Maia, on the other hand, recorded his first submission since 2009 when he applied a vicious rear naked choke on Rick Story. A bout between the two could provide one the best grappling matches in recent UFC memory.
Antonio Rodrigo Noguiera versus Stefan Struve
Where “Big Nog” stands at this point is still unclear. Sure, he beat Dave Herman by submission, but what does that really mean? He says he isn’t retiring anytime soon, so the only option is put him against Top-10 heavyweights to see what he has left. Struve, the massive Dutchman, seems like a good match up. The winner, especially if it is Struve, could be within a fight or two of a title shot.
Erick Silva versus Jay Hieron
While he lost to Jon Fitch, Silva was not out of his league. Both Dana White and Fitch praised his performance, and he almost finished the fight in round two. His upside is still high, and for all we know, this could be his “GSP-Matt Hughes” moment. A match up with the veteran Hieron could give us some answers as to what Silva’s true ceiling is.
Glover Teixeira versus Quinton “Rampage” Jackson
To say that Teixeira laid a whooping on Fabio Maldonado would be an understatement. The Brazilian terror put on a show of pure violence, and proved he is ready for a big name opponent. If he is going to get a fight with Jon Jones someday, he needs to beat a big name sooner rather than later. “Rampage”, his originally scheduled opponent, asked for the bout on Twitter after UFC 153, and Dana White agreed. This fight makes too much sense not too be booked, and would be a great fight to put on FOX in early 2013.
Phil Davis versus Forrest Griffin-Chael Sonnen winner
Davis looked awesome in submitting Wagner Prado this past weekend. A forgotten man at 205, Davis is still a top ten heavyweight and a potential threat to Jon Jones’s crown. He blend of wrestling and aggressive jiu-jitsu makes him an interesting opponent for several fighters, and he deserves a big name. The winner of Griffin-Sonnen at UFC 155 would give Davis a big name as well as an opponent that, with a win, could put him back in title contention.