Potential challengers to
Anderson "Spider" Silva
Silva couldn't possibly have looked better in
the past twelve months. Starting with his three
minute demolition of Rich Franklin to claim
the UFC title, Silva also mowed through top
contenders Travis Lutter and Nathan Marquardt
as well as a rematch with Franklin.
Not only has Silva looked
dominant in his fights, he has looked downright
indestructible. For as much as Joe Rogan and
Mike Goldberg were lauding the way Franklin
looked coming to the ring, fans at home could
see the fear in his eyes. Franklin almost appeared
to be on another planet. He was walking to the
cage, but his brain was definitely somewhere
else. There was no confidence in his walk, and
there was even less confidence in his fighting.
To see Franklin stare at
the clock whenever the opportunity arose was
a sure sign that he just wanted to make it the
distance. Unfortunately, Silva would not allow
that to happen. His pin-point striking and highly
underrated stand-up defense was far too much
for the former champion.
That being said, many people
are saying that Silva is unbeatable. Really?
Silva is unbeatable? Sure, he has looked awesome,
but please don’t forget that this is the
same guy that was submitted twice in Pride over
the past few years. Once by Ryo Chonan on a
miracle flying leg-lock and a second time by
triangle choke to Daiju Takase. Yes, the name
was Daju Takase. Takase’s record is paltry
Many people said the same things about Chuck
Liddell and Georges St. Pierre in the past year,
and neither currently holds a title of any kind.
But who are the current challengers
to Silva? At first glance, the pickings look
somewhat slim, but if you look behind the current
obvious UFC middleweight, there are some very
intriguing possibilities for Silva. The following
list shows some potential match-ups for Silva.
Silva should definitely be favored in all the
fights, but some of the matches certainly present
some intriguing battles. There are some liberties
taken based on weights and organizations, but
all the opponents listed could very well be
the man to defeat the "undefeatable"
Top 6 potential opponents
for Anderson "Spider" Silva:
1. Dan Henderson - Sure,
he wants to fight at 205, but if the UFC can
convince him to drop to 185, Silva vs. Henderson
is your marquee bout at middleweight. Being
that Henderson is also the Pride champion just
makes the fight that much bigger. Henderson's
powerful right hand and wrestling experience
make him a difficult match-up - not to mention
thr best characteristic which is his heart.
Henderson will take on any man at any time.
From heavyweight Antonio Rodrigo Noguiera to
light-heavyweight Wanderlei Silva, no man is
safe. As you are considering Silva unbeatable,
doesn't Henderson’s name make you stop
and think for a second?
2. Paulo Filho - The likelihood
of this match-up happening is almost nil due
to Filho and Silva's friendship, but stranger
fights have happened before. Filho's methodical
jiu-jitsu style makes him one of the top middleweights
in the world. Unfortunately, his ground based
attack also makes him one of the most boring.
Filho boasts an undefeated record that includes
victories over Murilo "Ninja" Rua
and Ryo Chonan. For the time being, he is languishing
in the WEC, but once the UFC realizes Silva
has no real competition available, will it be
long before they come knocking?
3. Georges St. Pierre - St.
Pierre is a big welterweight. He is also a tremendous
athlete with an excellent well-rounded attack.
He is the one fighter that may be able to match
Silva's speed and athleticism. St Pierre has
also talked about fighting for the 185 championship
once he establishes himself again as the top
170 pound fighter in the world. St Pierre, the
welterweight champion, vs. Silva, the middleweight
champion? That is fight no one would miss.
4. Matt Lindland - In Matt
Lindland, we're talking about a guy who moved
up to light-heavyweight to lose a razor close
decision to Quinton "Rampage" Jackson
and also moved up to heavyweight to take on
(and lose to) Fedor Emelianenko. Lindland is
a man that will surely relish the opportunity
to battle Silva (is it any wonder he trains
with Dan Henderson?). He also has the pedigree
to do some damage as Lindland is one of the
best wrestlers within the MMA world. He also
has a ton of experience training with Randy
Couture. Who better to learn from to come up
with a game plan to beat an unbeatable opponent?
Lindland has fought in the UFC before. Maybe
it's time to bring him back one more time.
5. Robbie Lawler - A puncher's
chance - pure and simple. Lawler is not the
most technically sound fighter. In fact, he
is probably the least technically skilled fighter
on the list, but Lawler is a guy in a great
shape that will come forward the entire fight.
He also knocked out both Frank Trigg and Ninja
Rua recently in devastating fashion so the confidence
is definitely there. Lawler will throw bomb
after bomb hoping one will connect. If (and
that is a very big if) he does, Lawler could
slug his way to victory.
6. Matt Hughes - Hughes has
publicly announced that he only has two or three
fights left. Hughes has also said that it is
becoming a real challenge for him to make the
170 lb weight limit. Hughes experience and pedigree
is unmatched on this list and maybe in all of
MMA. He is clearly a first ballot hall-of-famer.
Hughes is also one of the cockiest fighters
in the world. Should he get past Matt Serra
on 12/29/07, why not take a shot at doing something
no one has ever done - hold two UFC titles at
the same time?
Anderson Silva looked awesome
over the past year, but let’s not disband
the middleweight division entirely. The UFC
can make some very intriguing middleweight title
fights. Some creativity and thoughtfulness may
be necessary to make the fights happen, isn’t
this the same organization that lured Couture
out of retirement to take on Tim Sylvia less
than a year ago?