Friday, July 5, 2013
White on Silva, St-Pierre, more
By Brett Okamoto
LAS VEGAS -- There is no rematch clause in the fight contract between Anderson Silva and Chris Weidman, as far as anyone knows -- at least not officially.
Weidman has become a popular pick among the MMA community to hand Silva his first UFC loss at UFC 162 this weekend. Since signing with the promotion in 2006, Silva has won 16 consecutive fights, including 10 title defenses -- both records.
If that streak comes to an end at the MGM Grand Garden Arena, UFC president Dana White says an immediate second fight between the two is a done deal.
“The rematch is a no-brainer,” White said. “Should Anderson Silva lose his first ever in the UFC since 2006, you’re damn right we’ll do the rematch.
“If he loses on Saturday, you guys can go out and print: The rematch will happen. I don’t know what date, but it’s coming.”
Silva (33-4) signed a new 10-fight deal earlier this year. He's 38, so there is a strong possibility he'll never finish that deal, a scenario even White acknowledges.
At this stage in Silva’s career, White says, the middleweight champion is most interested in big-money fights. While an instant rematch with Weidman is guaranteed if Silva loses, the options open up considerably if he wins.
White and Silva have made no secret the top choice is welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre. White initially wanted that fight booked in November, but St-Pierre opted to take a title defense against Johny Hendricks instead.
White says he’s tried to make Silva-versus-St-Pierre enough to say with confidence St-Pierre doesn’t want it.
Georges St-Pierre will be watching on Saturday, but don't expect him to fight Anderson Silva next.
“There’s no doubt about it. That’s a fact,” White said. “If that was the case, [St-Pierre] would say, 'I’ll take that fight. I think Weidman is going to beat him and I don’t want Weidman to have that fight. I want to beat him.'
“At the end of the day, [St-Pierre] weighs 170 pounds. If he weighed 185 pounds [middleweight] and felt that way, I’d be real pissed.”
Previously, White has hinted that any fight between champions would take place within a weight class with a title on the line, but he has since softened that stance, opening the door for a potential catchweight fight.
“It was always, for me, a pound-for-pound fight -- a huge legacy fight,” White said. “Who is the greatest of all time? They could both hold their titles. Georges St-Pierre could do this fight and still be the champ at 170.
“What’s crazy to me is St-Pierre opted to take a very dangerous fight at 170 without trying to take a dangerous fight at 185.”
Amazing as it sounds, a nonsensical fight between Silva and former world champion boxer Roy Jones Jr. actually might have legs.
For years, Silva has publicly stated his desire to get in a boxing ring with Jones. In a recent interview with MMAjunkie.com, Silva said he’d actually prefer that fight to a UFC superfight against fellow champions St-Pierre or Jon Jones.
Picturing Silva getting into the ring with Roy Jones Jr., 44, is difficult. Silva’s UFC deal prevents him from doing so on his own. And certainly the promotion would never be interested in having it in the Octagon -- would it?
“Roy and I are talking,” White said Thursday. “Roy is coming here on Saturday.”
Jones, 56-8 as a professional boxer, hasn’t fought since a 10-round split-decision victory over Pawel Glazewski in June 2012. He serves as a commentator for HBO and has been involved with the camp of Canadian light heavyweight Jean Pascal.
In 2010, the UFC promoted a light heavyweight bout between Randy Couture and former world champion boxer James Toney at UFC 118. Toney was embarrassingly unprepared, losing via submission in the first round.
White wouldn’t go into details on what, if any, agreement might be reached to make Silva’s wish a reality. He acknowledged, though, how serious Silva is about it.
“It makes no sense to me,” White said. “These guys, when they grew up they had their heroes or whatever their deal is. It’s something they want to accomplish. This is something Anderson Silva wants to do.”
Vitor Belfort, who likes to point out he doesn’t ask for fights, has asked for a fight.
This week via Twitter, Belfort sent a message to White requesting either Silva or Weidman, adding, "I deserve the winner!"
Belfort (23-10), who is on a four-fight winning streak in the 185-pound division, is unlikely to get his wish.
If Weidman wins, White already has said there will be an immediate rematch. If Silva wins, well, Belfort had his shot at that fight. It didn’t go well.
“The hard position Vitor is in, [Silva] went out and kicked him in the face in one of the most devastating knockouts of all time,” White said.
“So when you go back to Anderson Silva in the twilight of his career and say, ‘Hey, what about Vitor?’ ‘I annihilated Vitor. I want to fight other people.' "
White wouldn’t rule anything out when it comes to Belfort’s future, even adding, “I’m not saying Vitor can’t get the next shot or get a shot soon,” but in terms of what’s next in Silva’s career, it’s clear Belfort doesn’t top the list.