It seems like Anderson Silva can do anything. He's dominated his division for years. He's become a mainstream star in his home country of Brazil. He's even moved up in weight class and dismantled huge light-heavyweights. On Oct. 13, Silva will try that last trick again. Though he started his career at less than 170 pounds. Silva had no qualms about stepping up on short notice to face Stephan Bonnar.
Even though he's the one moving up, the fight is considered an epic mismatch in his favor, with current odds ranging around the 12-to-1 range. At 37 years old, he's seemingly defied time, but how much longer can he do it? Because time keeps ticking away and there's no way to know how long his prime will last, the call for him to engage in cross-divisional superfights continues to intensify. Recently, the talk has been all about Silva vs. welterweight kingpin Georges St-Pierre, but some think he's a more natural match for 205-pound champ Jon Jones.
The two share similarly lanky body types, and are closer in size than Silva and GSP. But asked yesterday about whether a win over Bonnar would change his mind about a fight with Jones, he almost completely dismissed the idea. In fact, he also seemed to indicate that he may also bypass the GSP fight and stay right in his comfort zone.
"There's always been a lot of talks about me moving up to 205," he said through an interpreter. "I know Dana [White] has talked about it a lot. All the fans have talked about me moving up and facing Jon Jones. But it's something I've never wanted. I won't be pretentious to say that I'd want to move up, especially because there are other guys in that weight class on our team like [Rafael] 'Feijao' Cavalcante and [Antonio Rogerio] ''Minotoro'' Nogueira. There are other guys who could potentially face Jon Jones in the future. What got me this far is I’m grounded. My weight class is 185. I’m 37 years old and I feel I need to be honest and continue what I’ve built, which is to keep defending my belt at 185."
Of course, this flies directly in the face of exactly what he is preparing to do, which is fighting out of his division. Silva also made the same offer to fight at light-heavyweight to save the ultimately doomed UFC 151 card. So there are times when it seems like he's perfectly willing to compete at the higher weight, and others where he seems to suggest it's an illogical thought.
According to Silva, his willingness to volunteer at that division comes out of a feeling of personal responsibility to lead when the circumstances demand it. That's why he called White about UFC 151, and that's why he did the same when the original UFC 153 headliner came undone.
"Definitely, I've got that responsibility on my back," he said. "I'm part of the UFC family and I believe that everyone can do what they can do to help. It was the case where the event might have been canceled, and I was just doing my part. If I felt I couldn't do that or everyone came together and said I wasn't in condition to do that, I wouldn't have done it. But in that situation, I felt like I could step up and save the show."
Of course, the move brings with it implied risk. If Bonnar upsets Silva, gone go the prospects of any superfights, whether with Jones or St-Pierre. Along with it, gone goes the massive payday he likely would have received for either. Instead, it will be back to the middleweight division and the next available top contender.