Rashad Evans or Chris Weidman: Who Should Anderson Silva Fight Next?

Jordy McElroy@https://twitter.com/JordyMcElroyCorrespondent IJanuary 22, 2013

Rashad Evans, Anderson Silva and Chris Weidman - Esther Lin/MMAFighting
Rashad Evans, Anderson Silva and Chris Weidman - Esther Lin/MMAFighting

If two is company, then three has certainly become a crowd for Anderson Silva.

The UFC middleweight champ is torn between a much talked about title bout with Chris Weidman or a super fight with former UFC light heavyweight champ Rashad Evans.

If title shots were predicated on fairness, there isn't a single middleweight currently serving on the UFC roster more deserving than Weidman, who was 2012's "Breakthrough Fighter of the Year" at the World MMA Awards.

Weidman's undefeated MMA record is padded with five straight UFC wins, with two coming over top-10 middleweights, Demian Maia and Mark Munoz. 

With Michael Bisping falling to Vitor Belfort at UFC on FX 7, it's hard for naysayers to continue to deny Weidman a shot at Silva, but it hasn't stopped them from trying. Some have even sought refuge on the bandwagon of Strikeforce middleweight champ Luke Rockhold.

While a champion vs. champion matchup is intriguing, Rockhold has never fought in the UFC, and his only victory over top-10 opposition came in September 2011 against Ronaldo "Jacare" Souza.

If Weidman isn't considered a marquee name, it's definitely a stretch to consider a UFC newcomer like Rockhold as such.

Weidman is expected to make his UFC return later this summer after injuring his shoulder, which coincidentally is the same time Silva wants to fight again. The stars are aligned for a Silva vs. Weidman bout, but a potential super fight with Evans could spoil any type of universal plans.

UFC President Dana White has always been about giving fans the fights they want to see. This belief has even trumped traditional ideas of a No. 1 contender receiving a guaranteed title shot.

In the welterweight division, Johny Hendricks has gone to hell and back to prove himself as the top contender. Still, he was leapfrogged in line and had his title shot given to Nick Diaz, who is coming off a loss and suspension.

It's a cookie cutter approach to the fight business. What fight is more appealing to the fans? Who is going to sell more tickets?

At face value, Silva vs. Evans is a much more appealing bout.

Evans is a former world champion coming down from a heavier weight class. For years, he has been considered a marquee name in the sport, and he presents a plethora of challenges for Silva stylistically.

Evans is slated to face Antonio Rogerio Nogueira at UFC 156 on February 2. A second straight loss could erase any possibility of him dropping to middleweight and receiving an immediate title shot.

As for Weidman, another fight won't kill him. It might even be beneficial to help clean up any ring rust from his extended layoff. There is no question he is a deserving and formidable contender, but at the end of the day, MMA fans have a sweet tooth.

It would be hard to deny them some "Suga."