Anderson Silva-Jon Jones superfight drawing much more interest than potential Silva-GSP fight (Yahoo! Sports)

  • Share on Tumblr
  • submit to reddit

With one short sentence, middleweight champion Anderson Silva essentially rendered meaningless a fight mixed martial arts fans have drooled over for years. Silva also provided UFC president Dana White with his biggest headache since White was tasked with finding a way out of a $44 million hole in 2005.

How could anyone care whether Silva fights welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre when Silva is so obviously running from light heavyweight champion Jon Jones?

Before Jones burst into prominence last year by going on the most dominant 18-month run in the company's history, MMA fans were salivating about a potential Silva-St-Pierre superfight.

Buying the fight would have required a leap of faith, though, because St-Pierre is a far smaller man who has yet to show the ability to compete with opponents Silva's size. Silva is naturally about 30 pounds heavier than St-Pierre and fights at middleweight, where the limit is 185 pounds, 15 pounds higher than the welterweight limit of 170.

Such, though, is not the case with a potential Jones-Silva match. Jones holds the UFC's 205-pound belt, and Silva proved yet again at UFC 153 on Saturday at HSBC Arena in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, that he has no issues making light heavyweights look as ridiculous as he does middleweights.

In the cage after knocking Stephan Bonnar out with a knee to the solar plexus, Silva doused ice water on the building momentum for a fight with Jones.

"No," he said, "I am not going to fight at 205 again."

And with those 10 simple words, he presented White with an extraordinarily large problem.

[Dan Wetzel: Silva dismantles Bonnar, stokes fire for superfight with Jones]

It won't be much longer before White begins to hear the two words that should frighten the bejabbers out of any fight promoter who wants to put on the matches the public most wants to see: Mayweather-Pacquiao.

Anyone who has followed the completely ridiculous three-year saga involving boxers Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao is, unquestionably, sick of it now. They still haven't fought and, from all indications, they're no closer to a match now than they've ever been.

Worse, the idiocy of the negotiations has extended to the fans of both sides, who have taken to debating what percentage of the revenues each fighter should be paid.

It's beyond moronic to argue that point. If someone is a fight fan and wants to see the Nos. 1 and 2 fighters in the world meet to determine which of them is truly the best, who cares what they are paid? Boxing fans should simply want to see them fight, whether the split is 50-50, 99-1 or, as Pacquiao recently offered, 55-45 in favor of Mayweather.

The likelihood exists, though, that the Jones-Silva saga could devolve into MMA's version of Mayweather-Pacquiao very quickly.

[UFC 153 rewind: ’Big Nog’, Glover Teixeira score big wins]

Silva has never said directly why he won't fight Jones, though it's apparently some bizarre ethos about not wanting to get in the way of a shot for one of his teammates.

He's teammates with Rafael "Feijao" Cavalcante, who A) is signed with Strikeforce and thus isn't eligible to fight Jones; B) is on a suspension for having tested positive for steroids and is out until at least May 2013; and C) has done nothing to earn a shot at Jones even if he were to sign a UFC contract and the suspension were lifted today.

One of Silva's other teammates is Lyoto Machida, who will likely get a rematch against Jones in the first half of 2013, assuming he beats Dan Henderson when they meet in a yet-to-be scheduled bout.

Far more damaging to Silva and the UFC, though, is the perception growing by the minute that Silva is somehow afraid of Jones.

Silva is the greatest MMA fighter of all-time, but he hasn't faced a challenger anywhere near as gifted or as dangerous as Jones.

Silva isn't afraid of Jones; no elite fighter is afraid of another man. It's sure the perception that Silva is creating, however, and that diminishes his legacy.

Those who believe Silva is afraid of Jones would point out that Silva's been vulnerable to fighters with good wrestling and strong takedowns. Though Silva has the second-best takedown defense among UFC middleweights, neither Henderson nor Chael Sonnen had problems taking him down. Henderson is a former Olympic wrestler and Sonnen was an Olympic alternate.

It doesn't figure that Jones would have difficulty getting Silva down. And if he did, Silva would have to find a way to counter Jones' devastating elbows. No one Jones has fought has done much about it yet.

Stylistically, the match favors Jones.

[Related: Jon Jones reconsiders fight against Chael Sonnen for 'the fans']

Silva's genius is in figuring out plans and using his vast assortment of skills to win. It's hardly out of the question that he could defeat Jones, though Jones should be the favorite.

Jones has shown no more interest in fighting Silva than Silva has shown in fighting him, but Jones at least has an excuse. It's in his best interest not to be chasing smaller fighters.

Just like a potential Mayweather-Pacquiao boxing match, a Jones-Silva superfight would be the richest MMA fight ever as well as a bout matching the two greatest fighters in the world, and perhaps in the sport's history.

One of White's strong suits is putting together the fights the fans want to see, though he doesn't have a perfect record in achieving it. He was unable to sign legendary heavyweight Fedor Emelianenko, which meant he wasn't able to make Emelianenko against either Randy Couture or Brock Lesnar. Both were fights the public was desperate to see.

White needs to get on it, and fast, and make Silva-Jones happen.

The worst thing that could happen to the UFC would be for the fan base to begin using those two awful words when debating whether Jones and Silva will ever fight:


White's goal over the next few months should be to excise those words from the lips of MMA fans everywhere.

Other popular content on the Yahoo! network:
Brandon Rios beats Mike Alvarado in Fight of the Year candidate
Brad Keselowski's empty fuel tank tightens up Chase points race
Notre Dame stands tough to beat Stanford in OT
GrindTV: Bizarre fish washes up on Mexican shore

view original article >>

Related News

  • 3 days ago

While Daniel Cormier has accomplished much in his brief mixed martial arts career, the title of UFC champion has thus far eluded him. Naturally, Cormier is hoping to change that fact on September 27th when he challenges the sport's pound-for-pound kingpin, light heavyweight titleholder Jon Jones, at UFC 178. Though if all goes as planned, Cormier will have some unexpected championship pedigree aiding him in his quest for the belt. "I've got some friends and they put me in contact with some of th read news >>

  • 26 days ago

From Yahoo Sports: The must-see UFC champion finally has Anderson Silva in the rearview following his successful title defense against Lyoto Machida. read news >>

  • 20 days ago

From Yahoo Sports: Who is the frontrunner for the Fighter of the Year? Fight of the Year? Dave Doyle looks at who's been impressive thus far. read news >>

  • 16 days ago

When Jim Miller and Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone meet inside the Octagon tomorrow night, it could produce one of the most exciting fights of the year. read news >>

  • 10 days ago

From Yahoo Sports: Lawler was unceremoniously dumped by the UFC a decade ago. Now he's one of the organization's most exciting fighters. read news >>

  • 3 days ago

Because my training partners are better than yours. As Daniel Cormier and Jon Jones gear up to begin their training camps for their upcoming light heavyweight title fight at UFC 178 on Sept., 27, 2014 in Las Vegas, Nevada, both men will rely on the world-class fighters they have the privilege of training with on a daily basis at their respective camps. When talking about mixed martial arts (MMA) camps, perhaps there are none more celebrated than Jones' Jackson-Winkeljohn MMA gym down in Albuquer read news >>

  • 2 days ago

Most fight announcements, even the big ones, have the feel of carefully scripted routine. They're words on paper or a listless television announcement, a token of gratitude dealt from the bottom of the deck to major media players who trade in favors and secrets. Like all big-time combat-sports promoters, the UFC has done more than their fair share, even on premium outlets like ESPN's SportsCenter. A guy is fighting another guy. On pay-per-view. Buy it— with your money. In fact, the UFC, in hardc read news >>

  • 28 days ago

If you didn't see it the first time around with the rest of the world, you'll want to check out Chris Weidman's knockout of Anderson Silva, the fight that earned him the UFC middleweight championship. read news >>

  • 28 days ago

From Yahoo Sports: Penn has done just about everything in his career, but at 35 he is taking on a serious challenge in Frankie Edgar. read news >>