Anderson Silva vs. Vitor Belfort: What Possible Outcomes Would Do To MW Division
Two of the best Brazilian fighters in MMA will clash on February 5, 2011, right before the Super Bowl. Anderson Silva and Vitor Belfort headline a Middleweight Title bout in Las Vegas, Nevada. On paper, UFC 126 already is shaping up to be a top card in 2011.
Yushin Okami is already lined up for the next title shot sometime over the summer. But should he be? Though Okami is one of only three men to ever beat Silva, it was by DQ and was back in 2006. Both men are different fighters now—and Silva's even better. Okami is a sufficient enough opponent, but people want to see Georges St. Pierre-Anderson Silva in 2011. Both of these great champions have run through their weight classes and have nothing more to prove.
Belfort's waited for his shot for a while already. This match has gotten postponed for about a year due to injuries and timing, but now it finally happens. After this, though (assuming Silva wins, of course), where does Silva go? Justifiably, he will need to face Okami, but he's already swept his way through this division.
Furthermore, Silva has nothing left to prove, as he's the greatest 185-pound fighter of all-time, bar none. His pin-point striking is probably the best in all of MMA. Also, he's a "fighting champion," as we saw in his last fight with Chael Sonnen.
Now may be the time to pull the trigger on a GSP-Silva showdown. The UFC can't afford to miss the boat on this historic bout. Dana White realizes that this would certainly be the biggest draw in UFC history. At the same time, this changes the entire landscape of both the Welterweight and Middleweight Divisions.
If Silva were to defeat Belfort, he would then face Okami at some point during the summer. This pushes back a "potential" GSP super-fight and may make it obsolete. Instead, the possibility of a Middleweight Title Tournament is always lingering. Tournaments haven't been done in the UFC in quite some time but are very exciting and would draw huge PPV buys. There's a lot of talent at MW and even more to be discovered. That's one possible route.
Another is the stretch that Belfort outright defeats Silva for the belt. This definitely forces Silva to face GSP and lines up Belfort-Okami for the MW strap. In a highly unlikely scenario, this would be interesting, but don't bet on Silva losing. He's undefeated throughout his UFC career thus far.
In many ways, 2011 is expected to be a banner year for the UFC. They will stand on the shoulders of their predecessors and continue to extend the sport of MMA to the world. Georges St. Pierre and Anderson Silva are the two best pound-for-pound fighters in the world. A fight between these two champions would be epic and needs to happen in 2011 for the betterment of Mixed Martial Arts.