TSN.ca's MMA staff, including John Pollock - TSN Radio 1050 (@iamjohnpollock), James Lynch - TSN.ca (@lynchonsports), and Jordan Cieciwa - TSN Radio 1290 (@FitCityJordan), take a look at some of the hottest issues in the world of mixed martial arts.
1) After losing his title at UFC 162, where does Anderson Silva rank now on the MMA Pound-for-Pound list?
Lynch: I have Silva ranked in the third spot behind Jon Jones and Georges St-Pierre. Aside from his DQ mishap against Matt Hamill, Jones, the 25-year-old light heavyweight champion, has dismantled all of his opponents with ease and has fought better competition than Silva (including five former title holders) and easily takes the top spot.
The Canadian St-Pierre suffered a similar blemish on his record in an upset loss to Matt Serra at UFC 69 back in 2007, however he has gone undefeated since that time. Pundits will point out Silva has finished more opponents than GSP, however, the Tri-Star fighter (similar to Jones) fought better competition which is why he earns the second spot.
The Montreal native has dismantled the likes of Jon Fitch, Thiago Alves and Josh Koscheck in their prime. Meanwhile, nine of Silva's last 13 opponents are either out of the UFC or have left the middleweight division.
Pollock: I feel he will slip somewhat in people's minds but not by a large margin. The quality of opponents he has victories over coupled with the fact that many would still favor Silva in a rematch with Chris Weidman probably leaves Silva number two behind Jones at the moment.
There is a world of difference between watching someone grow old in front of your eyes and taken apart over the course of five-rounds as opposed to Silva's loss where he was caught and stopped.
JC: Silva is still number two. Jones has been such a dominant force that he has to be seen as number one. Silva comes in second thanks to the fact that his winning streak was so long. There really is no question that Silva beat all the competition the UFC put in front of him.
Unfortunately, he lost to a lower level opponent in Weidman, that will always be on his record. But the fact is, Silva went years mistake free and made some of the top level fighters look foolish. Not too many people can snap kick KO Vitor Belfort. St-Pierre doesn't finish fights. He wins, but he doesn't finish. GSP is the most dominate athlete out there, but I can't get on the bandwagon.
I want a champion who is deadly. That's Jones and Silva.
2) Which is a bigger upset, Weidman over Silva at UFC 162 or Serra over St-Pierre at UFC 69?
Lynch: Serra scored the bigger upset (who interestingly enough trains Weidman in New York) because he won Season 4 of the Ultimate Fighter (to earn a title shot) and leapfrogged a number of worthy contenders at the time to fight GSP. Weidman's undefeated record only justified the hype surrounding the buildup to his title shot against Silva.
With that said, the Brazilian looked unstoppable prior to this fight going a perfect 16-0 in the UFC. However the main reason he suffered this knockout loss was due to his cockiness (leaving his hands down) and really set him up for failure. Not to say Weidman doesn't deserve credit for his victory, but Serra hardly had any supporters when he shocked the world back in 2007.
Pollock: Without a doubt I place the Matt Serra win over St-Pierre as more stunning at UFC 69. Going into that fight the only fighter I can recall going on record predicting a Serra victory was Randy Couture and as we learned since that fight it was a bout that St-Pierre didn't take seriously enough, only began training a couple of days in advance for, which led to the metamorphosis of his career into the fighter we see today.
In the case of Weidman he was favored among numerous industry experts, he had a style that was very conducive to shutting down Silva as he had experienced problems with wrestlers in the past and was a much more fathomable prediction to accept than Serra defeating St-Pierre in 2007.
JC: The bigger upset by far was Weidman. Weidman's record, who he has faced, did not warrant the hype around him. Silva handed him the belt, the win, and everything with it. Serra's win wasn't due to a champ showboating, it was a win from one of the grittiest fighters to ever enter the UFC. Serra didn't cave to all the pressure of the dominant GSP, and when it counted he threw a bomb of an upper cut and won the fight.
My opinion on this may change if Weidman can string together a few defences. I just see Weidman as very opportunistic. Right place, right time, and a cocky champion who didn't seem to care about being the man anymore.
3) Who should Anderson Silva fight next?
Lynch: It was certainly bizarre seeing the former middleweight champion acting overly cocky, dropping his hands and taunting Weidman at UFC 162. We've seen similar antics against Thales Leites and Demian Maia in the past, but this time the outcome was different as the 38-year-old suffered his first loss (excluding a DQ against Yushin Okami) since December 31, 2004. Being that it was his first UFC loss, many pundits want to see a rematch with Weidman later this year. I disagree and believe this rewards his unsportsmanlike behavior should the former champ earn a second shot at Weidman immediately.
Personally, I'd like to see Vitor Belfort fight the middleweight champion next; he's dispatched two top contenders (in Michael Bisping and Luke Rockhold) and stylistically this would be an exciting matchup.
A name that hasn't been thrown around as an opponent for the Brazilian is Gegard Mousasi, who recently hinted at a drop to middleweight. The Armenian fighter hasn't really been tested and even if he suffers a loss against the former champion, it would give the UFC a good indication of where he fits in with the promotion.
Pollock: If the rematch is possible and Silva is willing to fight for the title again, that has to be the fight you put together. The rematch will be so much bigger than the first fight because the public knows who Weidman is, people will not be questioning if he is a legitimate threat or not and you have Silva in the challenger's role for the first time since 2006, not to mention many will favor Silva in a rematch and makes for a great dynamic.
I truly believe Silva will see the positives of what is to be gained by fighting Weidman again and taking into account he will get a nice back end of a pay-per-view that could approach a million buys and maybe more if marketed properly. On the flip side if Silva is adamant in not fighting for the title and wants to have fun fights then it becomes trickier as a matchmaker because you need to book him in fights that will draw to make it worth the while of the UFC to be paying Silva as much as they do as well as not relegating him to fights where he kills off contenders.
Michael Bisping comes to mind, Nick Diaz jumping up to 185 pounds and finally fighting Silva will gain my interest but I'm optimistic of the rematch with Weidman being the fight we see Silva take part in next.
JC: If you lose the belt due to arrogance, and if you publicly say you aren't that upset, you don't get a rematch. There are plenty of athletes who would kill for the shot at the title. The problem I see, is there are really only "easy" fights for Anderson. My thinking is that's what he wanted. He has a solid deal with Nike, and the UFC.
I'd love to see Dan Henderson get in there and try to earn back the choke out loss. I don't think Henderson loses twice to Silva.
Put pride on the line, and we may see an excellent match up. I don't think Silva cared about having the belt anymore. He clearly wasn't fighting to keep it. I do think he would fight to win against Hendo, or a fight that has his pride on the line. Next fight I want to see, Belfort vs. Weidman. That fight, and a win for Weidman will tell the MMA world he is for real.
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