Dana White Interested in Rashad Evans vs. Anderson Silva
The search for UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva’s next opponent is looking like a season of The Bachelor.
So the situation seems, with talks of former UFC light heavyweight champion Rashad Evans being thrown into the ever- changing catalog of choices. As MMAjunkie.com reported on Thursday, it appears the employer of the two fighters could be onboard for such a matchup.
"I would consider Rashad," UFC President Dana White said. "If Rashad won on Saturday night and wanted to go to 185, we would consider that."
Evans fights this weekend in the pay-per-view co-main event of UFC 156 at Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas against another longtime light heavyweight contender, Antonio Rogerio Nogueira. The bout will be Evans’ first since being defeated in a grudge match title fight with 205-pound champion Jon Jones.
Many discussions have taken place in recent weeks over who is most befitting for Silva to fight next. Michael Bisping lost to Vitor Belfort at UFC on FX 7 just weeks ago, thus once again letting the title of number one contender slip out of his grasp. That being the case, selecting the right option has become an interesting game of pros and cons.
The resurgent Alan Belchar and Tim Boetsch have both recently been defeated. Hector Lombard and Yushin Okami are set to face off against each other at UFC on FUEL TV 8 in March. The winner of that fight could be a viable candidate, depending on how soon Silva wants to fight. Lombard, with his 32-3-1 record and having never faced the champion, has a better chance than Okami of securing a title fight. Okami was finished by Silva at UFC 134 and is only 2-2 in his last four fights. On the flip-side, Okami was the one to dispatch Belchar at UFC 155.
Silva’s camp has expressed interest in facing fighter/movie actor Cung Le, but the 40-year-old is only 2-1 in the UFC and 3-2 in his last five fights. White scoffed at the proposed fight with Le, though he did not rule it out.
Strikeforce champion Luke Rockhold is coming over to the UFC and has no official opponent as of yet, but the company seems to be looking at Belfort to welcome the Strikeforce import to the promotion. Belfort, himself, could be one way to go. He is a former UFC light heavyweight champion, has headlined multiple UFC events and he just knocked out the guy who was next in line for a title shot. On the other hand, he is also only 3-2 in his last five fights, with one of those loses coming from the champion Silva via devastating front kick knockout in the very first round.
The strongest option, which is also surrounded by the most controversy, is that of Chris Weidman. The New Jersey native is currently rehabbing a shoulder injury, but has been very vocal about who he wants to fight next. He said he will be ready to fight this summer and wants the champion in his return bout. Weidman currently boasts the longest UFC win streak of middleweight contenders with five wins inside the promotion, not to mention an undefeated overall career record of 9-0. With a fighting style and skillset many believe to be well-suited to dethrone the Brazilian, that is the matchup most fans are currently pining for.
However, Silva’s camp is not so keen on a fight with Weidman. Ed Soares, Silva’s manager, has stated the champ wants big fights and Weidman is not a big enough name; that Weidman needs to pick up wins over a couple of big name fighters first. This could be viewed as a valid point. Silva owns more UFC title defenses than Weidman does total fights in his career. The most notable wins on his ledger are a lack-luster win over Demian Maia, who has since dropped in weight to the welterweight division, and a violent destruction of Mark Munoz, who was just stepping into the middleweight elite at the time of their fight.
Despite the controversy, White is optimistic Weidman is still in the running.
"I think that fight's closer and more possible than people think," said White.
But if Evans decides to cut the weight, White’s tone could quickly change.
"A lot of people think Chris Weidman is the No. 1 contender right now," White said. "If Rashad made a move from 205 down to 185, it'd be safe to say he's now No. 1."
Evans has never fought at middleweight. He even stated to MMAjunkie.com he is not sure he will even be able to cut enough weight to make 185 pounds. The Blackzilian team member feels a fight with Silva would be bitter sweet and he is not entirely sure of his interest in the possibility, though he believes he would beat him if they were to meet inside the octagon.
White did rule out one factor pertaining to one of Silva’s proposed challengers.
“If Weidman and him fight, that fight won’t be in Brazil,” White said. “We don’t have a fight scheduled in Brazil at that time.”
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