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UFC Hopes to Have Silva vs. Silva

Watching the latest promotional video for UFC 99, you get the sense that the Ultimate Fighting Championship is hoping that the main event between Wanderlei Silva and Rich Franklin is the first step toward a 2010 middleweight title fight between Wanderlei Silva and Anderson Silva.

The Wanderlei-Franklin fight is at 195 pounds, and the promotional video focuses a lot on how that catchweight serves as Wanderlei's first foray in moving down from light heavyweight toward middleweight. And then the video gets into the budding rivalry between the former friends, Wanderlei and Anderson.

"Wanderlei Silva could very well reinvent himself with a successful drop down to 185 pounds," UFC announcer Joe Rogan says in the video. "Anderson Silva has been the ruler of the 185-pound weight class in the UFC since he burst on the scene. No one has even come close to beating him. No one has even really put him in any great danger."

UFC President Dana White then chimes in with more about how Anderson views Wanderlei moving down in weight as an affront: "Anderson Silva feels like, 'Oh, you're going to try to come down here and try to take my title?'" White says, adding, "Anderson is so pissed off about this, he calls Rich Franklin up and says, 'I want to train with you and work with you for this fight. I'm going to show you how to beat the s**t out of this guy.'"

Words like that from Rogan and White come across as though they're designed to start building a future fight between Anderson and Wanderlei, and although a lot would have to happen before we see that fight, I think there's a fairly clear path toward it.

Anderson's next fight is at light heavyweight against Forrest Griffin at UFC 101 in August, and then, some time likely late this year, Anderson will move back down to middleweight to defend his title again. The two big middleweight fights in the mean time are Dan Henderson vs. Michael Bisping at UFC 100 and Demian Maia vs. Nate Marquardt at UFC 102. I think the UFC would love to match Anderson against the winner of one of those fights and Wanderlei against the winner of the other of those fights. If both Silvas were then to win, a Silva vs. Silva middleweight title fight would be a huge event for the UFC in 2010.

Wanderlei would have to win two tough fights before we see the two Silvas in the Octagon together, and that's no sure thing considering that he's 1-4 in his last five. But if Wanderlei beats Franklin at UFC 99, we're heading in that direction.