Former UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva was vindicated by USADA this week after the organization proved a recent failed drug test was due to a contaminated substance. Silva is now free to fight as of October 2018. With the UFC needing stars who can headline shows, the return of “The Spider” is huge. Now the question begs, who should Silva fight? Below are a few options for Silva’s next fight. Of note, Silva can fight at both middleweight and light heavyweight, though his return seems more likely to come at 185.
Anderson Silva vs. Uriah Hall
I feel like Silva vs. Hall is the most likely fight the UFC will book next. Remember, these two were supposed to fight at UFC 198 in 2016 before Silva pulled out due to injury. Both Silva and Hall are strikers and would put on a great show for the fans. Hall is the younger fighter and more explosive, but he’s also very inconsistent. While Silva is a lot older, he still has the potential to land a classic knockout, and Hall’s chin is fragile these days. I think this would be a terrific fight, and it makes a lot of sense considering the rankings.
Anderson Silva vs. Israel Adesanya
Considering Silva is in his 40s now and at the tail-end of his career, it doesn’t make much sense to be putting him against the top title contenders at 185lbs. Instead, the UFC could use him as a gatekeeper for up-and-comers to test himself against, and a bout against Adesanya makes sense in that regard. Silva and Adesanya are both strikers and would stand and trade for the fans’ delight. If Adesanya wins, he gets a huge name on his resume and the UFC could push him into a title eliminator. And if Silva wins, all of a sudden he’s relevant again. It’s a win-win situation, though a dangerous fight for Silva.
Anderson Silva vs. Paulo Costa
Similarly, Silva could take on Costa in a fight that mirrors a bout against Adesanya as it would be Silva taking on a young striker. But in this fight, it would be a Brazilian vs. Brazilian matchup and if Costa wins as expected, it would be the perfect passing of the torch. And if Silva wins, he becomes a star again. It’s another win-win for the UFC.
Anderson Silva vs. Chris Weidman III
The UFC could also book Silva in a trilogy matchup against his former rival Weidman. That doesn’t make sense in a way considering Weidman has already beaten Silva twice, but hear me out. The first fight between these two at UFC 162 featured one of the most famous knockouts in UFC history when Silva played around and got caught and finished. In the second fight at UFC 168, Silva’s leg broke in gruesome fashion. Weidman is a top contender at 185lbs still, but he isn’t getting a title bout next and needs a fight. A third fight between these two certainly wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world.
Anderson Silva vs. Georges St-Pierre
And finally, we can’t completely write off a legend vs. legend fight featuring Silva and GSP. I still think this is a big fight, albeit not as big as it would have been five years ago when both men were UFC champions. But it’s still a fight I want to see. Both Silva and GSP are amognst the top MMA fighters of all time and it would be nice to see them finally meet inside the Octagon so we can find out once and for all who the better man is.
Who should Silva fight in his return to the Octagon? Leave a comment below.