LAS VEGAS – Despite conflicting reports, UFC president Dana White insists Wanderlei Silva (33-10-1 MMA, 3-5 UFC) will indeed meet Brian Stann (10-3 MMA, 4-2 UFC) at UFC 130.
The UFC boss told MMAjunkie.com (UFC blog for UFC news, UFC rumors, fighter interviews and event previews/recaps | MMAjunkie.com
) that while Silva has shown some resistance to the matchup, the two middleweight sluggers will indeed meet in May.
"It's on," White said flatly of the matchup. "It's on."
Featuring a lightweight title fight between current champion Frankie Edgar and nemesis Gray Maynard, UFC 130 takes place May 28 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.
Stann first initiated talks of the potential matchup by respectfully asking for the fight following a January TKO win over Chris Leben.
"This is with the utmost respect," Stann started. I think I'd like to fight Wanderlei (Silva) next. He's been a guy that I've watched for years before I ever put a glove on. He's amazing. I want him."
White then cast some doubt over the matchup at a January Q&A session in Texas, when he admitted Silva wasn't too keen to playing a bad guy against the man known as "All American."
"We were actually trying to hook [Silva] up with Brian Stann," White said in January. "He doesn't want to fight Brian Stann. He's like, '[Expletive] that. Everybody is going to hate me if I fight Brian Stann. Everybody loves Brian Stann.' But that's the fight we're trying to make right now."
Nevertheless, earlier this week the Silva vs. Stann matchup was announced via the UFC's web-based series, "UFC Ultimate Insider," and the bout is still listed on UFC.com.
MMA Fighting reported earlier this week that Silva would not be fully recovered from a recent knee surgery in time for the matchup with Stann, and White admitted he's still receiving some resistance from "The Axe Murderer" in regards to facing a fan favorite and decorated American war hero.
"You know Wanderlei," White said. "He's not afraid to fight anybody, but Wanderlei is one of those guys. He's like, 'Boss, everybody will hate me if I fight this guy.'
"I'm like, 'Trust me, nobody is going to hate you, Wanderlei.' People love you."
Despite Silva's concerns, White said the show will carry on as planned.
"I've got to talk to Wanderlei," White said.