After easily dismantling former UFC light heavyweight champion Forrest Griffin, MMA fans are anxiously waiting to see who pound-for-pound king and UFC middleweight champion Anderson “the Spider” Silva (25-4) will fight next. Josh Gross of SI.com has recently reported that Silva is interested in a bout against former heavyweight champion Frank Mir. According to Gross, Silva’s reps approached the UFC brass before UFC 101 and floated the idea of Silva moving up two weight classes to the heavyweight division and specifically named Mir as an opponent he would be interested in facing.
The fight makes sense for several reasons. First of all, Silva’s training partner Lyoto “the Dragon” Machida currently holds the light heavyweight crown and Silva has zero interest in fighting him because they are close friends. If Silva were to fight at light heavyweight and he beats top-ranked opponents within the division, then he would take the steam out of potential fights for those contenders and Machida.
Second, the paydays in the heavyweight division are bigger. Silva is 34-years old and has indicated that he is looking forward to boxing Roy Jones Jr. when his UFC contract is up. He has also indicated that he may retire in the near future. It sounds like Silva is looking to bank some big money before he hangs up his gloves. By taking on a heavyweight like Mir (who is popular among many fans), the pay-per-view buys would likely be much higher than they would against an opponent in his own, natural weight class of 185 pounds. Presumably there is more danger for Silva in fighting the bigger man. While the UFC’s total compensation plan is not widely known (base pays are reported to some athletic commissions and published), top fighters such as Silva, Georges St. Pierre, B.J. Penn and Randy Couture get a cut of pay-per-view revenue. So the move up in divisions could equal a much bigger paycheck for Silva.
Finally, Silva could probably handle Mir. Anything can happen in a fight, but Mir doesn’t present any serious matchup problems and would have a hard time using his size to his advantage. Silva’s demolition of Griffin proved that standing with Silva is not a good idea no matter how big you are. It appears as though the only way to beat Silva is to take him to the mat because he is too dangerous to fight on the feet. While Mir has some of the most dangerous submissions in the UFC, he would probably have a difficult time taking the elusive Silva down. Even world-class wrestlers like Dan Henderson couldn’t beat Silva despite his wrestling advantage (although he came the closest to solving the Silva puzzle).
When you’re the best in the world and you’re not fighting, it’s only natural for fans and the media to speculate on what’s next. Anderson Silva has been so dominant in his UFC career, almost any opponent, no matter how big or talented, seems like a possibility.