VANCOUVER – A MMA dream matchup that has long been fantasy could soon turn into reality, according to UFC President Dana White.
Recent reports from FOX Sports 1's “UFC Tonight” indicated that former UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva (33-6 MMA, 16-2 UFC) and former Strikeforce welterweight titleholder Nick Diaz (26-9 MMA, 7-6 UFC) have expressed interest in fighting each other.
The UFC’s head honcho is compelled by the idea and says he would gladly put the fight together if both sides were willing and able.
“I know they want it,” White on Thursday told MMAjunkie following a media day for Saturday’s UFC 174 card in Vancouver. “I think that’s a very interesting fight, so we’ll see what happens.”
While the matchup would have to be considered one of the biggest fights the UFC could put together right now, there are several roadblocks in the way before a date or location can be set.
Silva has not fought since this past December, when he suffered a horrific broken leg to thwart his quest to regain the UFC middleweight championship from Chris Weidman at UFC 168. It appears “The Spider” is on schedule with his recovery from the gruesome injury, but is not targeted to return to octagon until late 2014 or early 2015.
Diaz, on the other hand, has been out of action even longer than Silva, dating all the way back to his failed bid to capture the UFC welterweight title from Georges St-Pierre in March 2013. Silva’s time off is not voluntary, but Diaz has opted to stay away from competition by his own accord and has said repeatedly that he’s retired.
White has previously said that Diaz has turned down multiple fight offers since his loss to St-Pierre; however, the 30-year-old has passed on those opportunities. If he’s willing to take on Silva, though, it would be hard not to pull the trigger on the fight.
“Anderson isn’t coming back until December,” White said. “It’s far enough that I don’t need to talk to him yet. If Anderson wants to fight Nick and Nick wants to fight Anderson, why would I say no?”
Another holdup is the fact Silva holds a significant weight advantage over Diaz. The Brazilian has spent the majority of his career at middleweight and has even ventured up to light heavyweight at times. Even though he has a few middleweight contests on his record, most of Diaz’s fights have occurred at welterweight or below.
White thinks Diaz would have to move up in weight for the bout to come to fruition, but if he did, the UFC would have a matchup that would have a good chance of drawing more than the typical MMA crowd. If he has things his way, White will give Silva and Diaz their wish and make it happen.
“I think it would be tough for Anderson to make 170,” White said. “A few years ago, he was saying he could do it, but I don’t know about now. He’s not getting any younger. It might be the end of this year, or it could be next year. I don’t know.”
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(Pictured: Nick Diaz)