Forget GSP. Forget Jon Jones. Anderson Silva should face Rashad Evans.
First off, it’s the most realistic option outside of middleweight. There was plenty of talk about GSP moving up when he had cleaned out the welterweight division. But now there are plenty of new challengers for him: Carlos Condit, Nick Diaz, Martin Kampmann and Johny Hendricks are all pounding on his door.
With so many challengers waiting, and the fact that GSP has been out of action with a serious knee injury, his move to middleweight to fight Anderson Silva is now completely impractical.
GSP will stay where he is.
Jon Jones and Anderson Silva are buddies and have already said they have no plans of fighting each other. Add to that the fact that Jones is basically a lean heavyweight, and the size differential is too great. Sure, Silva’s skills can transcend size, but the sum of his disadvantages: size, strength and age, along with both parties unwillingness, make this even more untenable than the Silva/GSP superfight.
The only out-of-division challenger who makes perfect sense is Rashad Evans.
The one caveat is that Rashad is a top 3 light-heavyweight. Why would be move down when he’s on top of his division?
There are four very good reasons.
One, and most importantly, as long as Jon Jones is the man at 205, Rashad is unlikely to ever hold the belt again. Rashad isn’t just in this for the handsome paychecks. He wants to be a champion.
Two, Rashad is an undersized light-heavyweight. Everyone he fights at 205 is bigger than him. He’s just that good where he can beat most of them.
Three, he’s thinking about it. Rashad has recently expressed interest in fighting Silva. That’s more than can be said of GSP or Jon Jones at this point.
And four, Rashad has half a chance of winning.
With Rashad’s stellar 205-pound run, including a short stint as champion, he could walk right into a title fight. The UFC is reaching for challengers for Silva, and while middleweight is deeper now than it’s ever been, there is still not a clear-cut top contender.
Hector Lombard will do in a pinch, but he’s unproven against top opposition. If Mark Munoz beats Chris Weidman, an argument can be made that he deserves a shot, but he’s really just not ready for Silva’s caliber. And Bisping needs to show that he can beat a top shelf middleweight.
At 185 right now, that’s about it.
Rashad Evans has the perfect style. He has the necessary wrestling skills that are obviously required to have even a long shot at defeating Silva, but unlike Chael Sonnen, he also has the quickness and power in his striking to be able to survive on the feet.
If Rashad is game for a change, then the UFC should make this happen. Right now, there isn’t a challenger at 185 with near the interest of Rashad Evans.