15 Jan Is Anderson Silva Deserving of the Next Title Shot if he Defeats Nick Diaz?
In an apparent attempt to make up for lost time, UFC president Dana White declared that Anderson Silva only need to defeat upcoming opponent Nick Diaz in UFC 183 on January 31 to earn himself a title shot against the winner of the Chris Weidman–Vitor Belfort title tiff at UFC 184.
The seemingly premature announcement shouldn’t come as a shock to many. One of the abounding perks of being of an all-time great and a proven commodity is an easier road to the top and it’s not like it hasn’t been done before.
But the question arises: Considering the talent depth of the middleweight division and a long layoff, does Silva deserve the next crack at the championship?
“The Spider” has been on the shelf for 13 months following a horrific leg injury he suffered against Weidman and at 39, he’s not exactly a spring chicken. Even though he still is probably one of the world’s best, one fight against a welterweight (or anyone for that matter) is not how you would prepare for the grind of a title run.
Silva’s reputation as a creative and exciting striker will undoubtedly make things interesting for either Weidman and Belfort but there other notable middleweights who are staking claim as possible title challengers. Four of them are slated to square off against each other in the next four months, with Yoel “Soldier of God” Romero (6) and Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza (2) set at UFC 184 and Luke Rockhold (5) and Lyoto Machida (3) locking horns at New Jersey in April.
Souza has been aching for a title shot and is currently on a seven-fight win streak (4-0 in the UFC), that’s why changing White’s stance is at the back of his mind when he fights Romero. Similarly, Rockhold has been impressive since a TKO loss to Belfort in 2013 while Machida gave Weidman a huge test at UFC 175. Whoever comes out victorious should not, in any way, be ignored for a title shot.
Still, the UFC leans on giving Silva the next crack for some reasons. It could be a fitting final gesture for one of the legendary fighters of the sport or they may see it as the last big chance of hauling in considerable revenue off of the Brazilian. If Belfort defeats Weidman (which is not in the realm of impossibility), a second go-round with Silva is a very attractive proposition, more so than Silva-Weidman 3.
Either way, deserving or not, Anderson Silva has earned his stripes through his past accomplishments. Being one of the select few who can fill seats in an arena with his presence alone obviously doesn’t hurt his case.
He may not have too many bouts left in that aging body, so I won’t lose sleep if the UFC decides to cut corners in Silva’s favor. Come to think of it, you shouldn’t too!
Conventional wisdom might say Anderson Silva doesn’t deserve the next middleweight title shot but being at the top of the sport for so long should at least earn him the benefit of the doubt. I have no problem giving him that.
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