UFC president Dana White has been bombarded on Twitter recently by fans and followers of both Wanderlei Silva and Chris Leben, who have decided that they should be each other’s next opponent.
Silva and Leben have expressed interest in fighting each other ever since Leben stepped up in an injured Silva’s place against Yoshihiro Akiyama at UFC 116 this past July. Both men have cited their respect for the other and his body of work as being the primary reasons for wanting the fight, in addition to the fact that they would almost assuredly put on a barnburner for the fans.
Despite the allure carried by this bout and its promise of a gutter war, UFC president Dana white recently told MMAFighting.com’s Ariel Helwani that he has another match up in mind for Silva: a revisitation of his 1998 UFC 17.5: Ultimate Brazil bout against fellow Brazilian Vitor Belfort.
“That’s what Wanderlei wants, that’s not the fight we want for Wanderlei,” White said of Leben-Silva. “We want Vitor Belfort. Wanderlei vs. Vitor, that’s the fight I want. Wanderlei knows I want that fight. Vitor’s ready to roll.”
Belfort and Silva met early on in their careers, with Belfort earning a highlight reel, forty-four second knockout over Silva. The two have expressed mutual interest in a rematch recently.