It is no secret that Anderson Silva has pretty much cleaned out the UFC’s middleweight division. He has beaten the best the UFC has to offer. He holds wins over Chris Leben, Rich Franklin (twice), Dan Henderson, Travis Lutter, Nate Marquardt, Patrick Cote and Thales Leites. So…who’s next for the UFC middleweight champ? Silva is scheduled to fight Forrest Griffin at UFC 101 in a light heavyweight bout while the UFC determines the next contender.
The UFC has really created a mess. Dana White has said that if Michael Bisping gets past Dan Henderson at UFC 100 that he will get a title shot. Demian Maia appears to be in a number one contender bout with Nate Maruquardt at UFC 102. Yushin Okami is one win away from a much deserved title shot. That means that the UFC will have 3 guys standing in line for a title shot. Someone will get shafted.
On top of that you have Yoshihiro Akiyama who debuts at UFC 100 against Alan Belcher. A win for Akiyama will probably mean he is one win away from being in serious contention.
To add fuel to the fire Dana White has spoken of a “mindblowing middleweight fighter”. On Saturday it was revealed that fighter was Vitor Belfort. It is quite possible he could leap frog all those guys straight to a title shot. Belfort, however still has to get past a tough Jorge Santiago at Affliction 3 in August before he head to the UFC.
So who has the best shot at beating Silva? Okami holds a win over Silva in his career, but I doubt Okami would be Anderson now and besides that his win came by way of DQ. Bisping would be a good fight and a good draw for the English fans. I look for that fight to happen should Bisping beat Henderson, it will be a well deserved reward for the loyalty of U.K. fans. Demia Maia is perhaps the type of fighter that many think can beat Anderson. However, he would have to get Silva to the ground to beat him. Henderson perhaps fought the best against Silva. Marquardt showed promise in their match and is not much improved. I would still like to see Wanderlei Silva take on Anderson. A couple of wins for Wanderlei and he could earn a shot. I wouldn’t mind seeing any of those match-ups. However, the Belfort fight could be epic. Belfort is big and strong. Belfort has super quick hands. He is explosive. He has knockout power. If the UFC can indeed land Vitor Belfort that is the fight to watch as he poses the biggest threat to Silva. I guess one has to wonder if Silva will stay around long enough to knock off all those contenders. Will he retire? Will he vacate the belt and move to light heavyweight? Time will tell.