By knocking out Dan Henderson at UFC 82, Anderson Silva made clear -- as if anyone didn't already know -- that he's by far the best mixed martial arts fighter in the 185-pound weight class.
In fact, he's such a dominant fighter that I suspect UFC President Dana White is worried that interest in Silva's fights will decline because everyone just assumes he's going to win. Not many people will buy Silva's next fight on pay-per-view if they think it will be the MMA equivalent of LSU against Middle Tennessee.
So here's what Silva should do next: First, fight Yushin Okami. And second, gain 20 pounds and start fighting in the 205-pound weight class.
Okami, who beat Evan Tanner on the UFC 82 undercard, is possibly the second-best 185-pound fighter in the sport, and he actually beat Silva two years ago. Although that Okami victory was a disqualification because Silva connected with an illegal kick, and although Silva would be heavily favored if they fought again, a Silva-Okami fight would at least be a worthwhile exercise.
And once he beats Okami, as I believe he would, Silva needs to move up in weight class. He's got a lanky frame and wouldn't have much trouble gaining the weight, I would think, and at 205 pounds there are several fighters whom everyone would love to see Silva take on.
I assume Silva would resist such a move. He's an absolutely dominant fighter at 185 and how many world-class athletes want to do something that would make them less dominant? But if Silva were to get a title shot against Rampage Jackson, that would generate about as many pay-per-view buys as UFC is capable of generating right now. And if White ponies up a slice of that pay-per-view pie, Silva may come around.