Anderson Silva – Who’s next?
Wow what a performance by Anderson Silva at UFC 101, he made former UFC light heavyweight champ Forrest Griffin look like he had no place in the cage with the Spider. With his first round KO of Griffin, Anderson Silva gave notice to the rest of the 205-pound fighters he’s here to stay. The crowed light heavyweight division gives us several unique matchups, let’s explore a few of those here.
Lyoto Machida – fans want this fight. Machida’s unorthodox style has caused problems for everyone he’s fought. He made short work of Rashad Evans in their UFC 98 match. I really don’t know which way to lean if this fight happens. Both Silva and Machida have said they won’t fight each other as they are both friends and training partners but if the money is right, I don’t see either of them turning down a huge payday.
Rashad Evans – Evans has knockout power and fantastic wrestling skills which if he stands a chance against the Spider he’ll need. Dan Henderson used his wrestling to take a round from Silva in their 2007 match, it was the only round Silva has lost in the past 4 years. Evans has a grudge match coming up against the next fighter on the list Rampage Jackson to take care of before he can consider a fight against Silva.
Quinton Rampage Jackson – Jackson talks the talk and walks the walk, except for his 5 round controversial loss to Griffin he’s beat everyone the UFC has thrown at him. The hype for this fight would be unreal, the only problem I see here is Rampage would want to exchange strikes with Anderson Silva and it’s a battle I don’t think Rampage could win.
Tito Ortiz – Tito is a solid fighter and will be one of the next fighters inducted into the UFC hall of fame but I see him fighting on his name as his skills have diminished. This fight would bring in huge PPV revenue so I wouldn’t be surprised if Dana White makes this fight sooner rather than later.
Shogun Rua – People forget Rua was a top 3 pound for pound fighter only 2 years ago before making the jump to the UFC. He lost to Griffin and battled injuries for much of the past two years. If he’s healthy and he looked healthy in his TKO performance over Chuck Liddell, he could be the one to beat Machida for the LHW title. If that happens, I will guarantee Silva would be his first title defense. Rua like Silva is a Muy Thai fighter and they both hold black belts in Brazilian Jujitsu, so their skills match well. And if you consider the fact Shogun is 7 years younger than Silva, he may be the man to beat Anderson Silva.
We may not have to worry about the Silva-Machida non-confrontation pact if Rua does what he is capable of doing and beats Machida, this will open up a huge number of possibilities for UFC fight fans.