Although UFC middleweight kingpin Anderson Silva isn't getting his hands on Georges St-Pierre or Jon Jones anytime soon, Rashad Evans might fit the bill.
During a UFC 156 pre-fight media scrum, Dana White confirmed that Evans may find himself in a match with "The Spider" if he wins against Antonio Rogerio Nogueira in Saturday's co-main event. But according to MMA reporter Ariel Helwani, that still doesn't rule out another potential challenger:
Dana: if Rashad wins on Saturday and wants to go to 185, I would consider him vs Anderson. It's down to him and Weidman. — Ariel Helwani (@arielhelwani) January 31, 2013
Despite the fact that he's been on the shelf since a July 2012 victory over Mark Munoz, Weidman has been campaigning hard for a title shot upon his return.
Silva's management isn't so keen on the idea, though, telling Portuguese site UOL Esporte that Silva would only fight Weidman if the card took place in Brazil, due to Weidman's perceived lack of pay-per-view drawing power.
Weidman is currently undefeated in the UFC, posting a perfect 9-0 professional MMA record with his last five wins taking place in the Octagon.
But if the fight took place in Brazil, where Silva is most famous, the UFC could pull off a huge live gate and reasonable PPV numbers.
By contrast, Rashad Evans has proven to be one of the UFC's biggest draws over the years, headlining 11 events in his 15-fight UFC career.
So far, Evans' biggest successes have been a title fight against Forrest Griffin at UFC 92 (1 million buys), along with his grudge matches against Quinton Jackson at UFC 144 (1.05 million buys) and former training partner Jones at UFC 145 (700,000 buys).
[Note: All PPV estimates provided courtesy of MMAPayout.com Blue Book.]
Hence, Evans would be the vastly more attractive prospect for Silva, who is said to be one of the highest-paid athletes in the UFC. Rather than Silva making his occasional trip up to the 205-pound division, this matchup will likely only happen if Evans decides to drop to middleweight.