LAS VEGAS — Most of what you're about to read is predicated on the idea that Anderson Silva does not actually want a rematch with Chris Weidman for the middleweight title.
That is to say: I'm assuming that we can take Silva at his word when he says that he's tired and does not want to fight for titles anymore. That obviously sounds like another one of those things Silva seemingly utters just for the fun of it; remember when he said that he didn't have Dana White's phone number? If you believe that one, I've got an awesome oceanfront property near the Strip here in Vegas that I'd love to discuss with you. It's for sale.
Perhaps we can't take Silva at his word, but that doesn't change my point: I'd rather see Weidman defend his new shiny new title against Vitor Belfort next, anyway.
Why? Because he deserves it.
Sure, Silva quite obviously deserves a rematch if he wants it. He's the greatest fighter of all time, and nothing that happened at UFC 162 on Saturday night will diminish that legacy. If anything, Silva's loss only proved that you're eventually going to be humbled if you start believing your own greatness; pride cometh before the fall and all of that.
But why should I be all that interested in seeing Silva go back in the cage with Weidman if he is that uninterested in the idea in the first place?
Silva says he's tired and doesn't want to fight for titles anymore. If he's telling the truth, then I have zero desire to see him forced to step back in the cage with a very talented champion. I'd rather see Silva inspired enough to go to light heavyweight or heavyweight and take the biggest fights available as he closes out his career.
And again, we can't say that Belfort doesn't deserve his shot. I've been highly critical of his decision to use TRT in the past, but that was due to his secretive nature about the process. Now that he's opened up about his usage (relatively speaking, anyway), I don't mind the idea of Belfort competing for a title, so long as he's randomly tested like the UFC says he and the others who have testosterone replacement therapy exemptions will be.
Perhaps Weidman vs. Silva II is inevitable. If Dana White gets his way, the likelihood that we'll see that fight far outweighs the odds of not seeing it.
But if I'm White, I'd grant Silva the time off that he wants. He can spend six to eight months with his family. He can relax and use the downtime to figure out if he still wants to compete at the highest level or if those days are over.
“Chris is the champion now,” Silva said after the fight. “I don’t fight no more for the belt.”
If that's truly the case, then it's time to move on. Belfort has earned his shot. Weidman is the champion. It's an intriguing fight and one that is winnable for both men.
Sounds like a recipe for a great UFC main event. Book it.