UFC Fight Night Musings
By Michael DiSanto
SILVA’S LEGEND AND LEGACY CONTINUE TO GROW
Amazing. Superhuman. Unbeatable.
After watching Anderson Silva decimate a very tough James Irvin in a mere 61 seconds, the superlatives
just don’t do him justice anymore. The UFC Middleweight Champion’s debut at light heavyweight was so dominant that he may have cleared the way for more speculation about possible fights against the much bigger warriors in the 205 lb world than for those in his native division.
Think about potential matchups between the “Spider” and Chuck Liddell, “Rampage” Jackson, Wanderlei Silva, and “Shogun” Rua. Any of those would leave fans salivating with anticipation the minute they were announced. But none of those fights make sense for Silva as his next bout based on a risk-reward analysis. He could very well lose to any of those guys, and that would erase his mystique as the best fighter on the planet, pound for pound. And, while a win over a top five light heavyweight is certainly nothing to sneeze at, it would not impact his legacy 10 or 20 years from now.
In my opinion, the only fight that makes sense for Silva at this juncture in his career is challenging reigning UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Forrest Griffin.
Think about it. Anything can happen once the cage door closes. There are no guarantees that Silva won’t suffer an upset in his next middleweight title defense. So, if he wants to attempt to become the first UFC champion to rule two divisions simultaneously, now is the time to roll the dice.
The timing is perfect for Griffin, too. He took the 205-lb title from Rampage two weeks ago, so he will be looking for an opponent for his first title defense in 3-4 months. That is the perfect amount of time to begin building a ground swell of hype around a potential history-setting bout.
Moreover, Griffin presents the best opportunity, based on matchups, of any of the aforementioned light heavyweights for Silva to win his second championship. That is by no means a slight at Griffin, who is an unbelievably talented champion. He might be the bigger, stronger man. But he isn’t more skilled on the feet or on the ground than Silva. And, most importantly, he lacks both dominant wrestling skills, something that may give Silva trouble, if coupled with great submission defense, and true one-punch knockout power, which can bring any fight to an end in the blink of an eye.
After putting the Sandman to sleep, Team Silva needs to begin lobbying UFC president Dana White for an opportunity to fight Griffin next. It is a good fight for Silva based on the matchup, and it is the best possible bout to secure both his legend and legacy as the greatest fighter on the planet, pound for pound.