Despite being 37 years old, Anderson Silva seems to be in no hurry to defend his UFC middleweight championship. It was nearly 11 months between fights for him the last time around as he recovered from injuries, and in the wake of his rematch victory over Chael Sonnen, the champion seems emboldened to wait for the right situation to present itself before he steps foot in the cage again.
It has been widely known that Silva and his management seem mostly unimpressed with the list of contenders currently floating around the division. Despite the recent impressive wins by Chris Weidman, and the challenges laid out by the likes of Alan Belcher and Tim Boetsch, Team Spider remains unmoved.
Silva is at the height of his earning power -- he was reported to make a multi-million dollar payday for UFC 148 -- and with a piece of the pay-per-view revenues as part of his earnings, Silva seems determined to participate in a match that can be promoted as not just a fight, but an event, the same way Sonnen-Silva II was. That could mean that he is left waiting for months in hopes that one of the above names or some other fighter can significantly raise his profile or a bigger-name fighter agrees to face him.
According to his manager Jorge Guimaraes, there is one existing possibility that would bring Silva to the negotiating table with pen in hand.
"No opponent makes sense for Anderson at this moment unless we do a catchweight against Georges St. Pierre," he told Brazilian website Tatame. "They didn't offer the fight, but he's the only one that could do a super fight. Anderson has the biggest paycheck in the UFC, and you can't promote an event with these amateur kids that are coming up now".
The cheeky characterization of any top contender as an "amateur kid" aside, the interest in St-Pierre seems a curious bit of timing.
The long-reigning welterweight champion is currently still in the midst of rehabilitating his surgically repaired right knee, but already has a mid-November return date tentatively penciled in against interim champion Carlos Condit. After already scratching Condit from a previous title fight with St-Pierre, the UFC wouldn't do it to him again, especially after he's waited so long for St-Pierre's return.
Even if they entertained the situation, it's not likely St-Pierre would in his first fight back from the injury. Remember, in the past, St-Pierre has said that if he were ever to move up in weight to fight Silva, he would need about one year to put on the size and muscle to compete with the bigger man.
That's time that Silva doesn't have. The middleweight division does not offer that kind of time, either. While Silva has long lobbied for a superfight with St-Pierre, it now seems less likely to happen than at any point over the last few years of their respective reigns.
And that will leave Silva with only a few choices. If he wants a superfight, well, Jon Jones is only a few weeks away from possibly defending his title against a fifth straight former UFC or PRIDE champion. If Dan Henderson wins, he can offer a rematch possibility. Maybe Rashad Evans decides to go to middleweight after all. Or Silva can accept the fact that a new generation of middleweights is all he has left.
Years ago, Silva walked into the UFC and was given a title match after a single win over a young Chris Leben. Weidman, Belcher and Boetsch are far more accomplished in the octagon than Silva was when he was thrust into a UFC title match. So if he wants a challenge, there is no shortage of willing participants. Most will even agree to fight one more time to prove their worth. But if it's truly superfight or bust, he might be left idling as more time slips away from a great career.