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Thursday, September 29, 2011
Is Silva versus Henderson better at 205?

By Chad Dundas

Forrest Griffin, Anderson Silva
Don't believe Anderson Silva packs a punch at 205? Just ask Forrest Griffin.
At least among fans, the popular vision of Anderson Siva ’s future includes him defending his UFC middleweight title against either Chael Sonnen or Brian Stann and then engaging in one or both epic superfights against welterweight champ Georges St. Pierre and light heavyweight titlist Jon Jones.

It’s a nice idea, but one fraught with pitfalls and hang-ups, most of which have already been discussed on this website and others. If weight-bending, big-money superfights are what we’re after for Silva, it’s hard not to wonder if a somewhat more pedestrian rematch against old foe Dan Henderson isn’t just more realistic, but better for all parties involved.

Henderson wants this fight, as he’s made it clear in nearly every interview he’s done since winning the Strikeforce light heavyweight title. Silva’s camp says he would take it, just as soon as his shoulder heals up. Meanwhile, St. Pierre would get to stay at 170 pounds, where he rightfully belongs, and Jones could focus on the meat grinder of upcoming challengers that will be lining up for him in his own weight class over the next year or so.
Anderson Silva and Dan Henderson
A rematch between Anderson Silva, left, and Dan Henderson at 205 might benefit both parties.

Hendo versus Silva II has already been talked about, obviously. Henderson says he and the UFC discussed the possibility before he ultimately settled for a bout with Mauricio Rua. To date though, all discussions seem to indicate this fight would happen at 185 pounds which seems, frankly, less than ideal.

Granted, Silva continues to express a desire to finish his career at middleweight, but Henderson has adopted a fairly hard-line stance against competing at 185. Can’t blame him; it’s tough on a 41-year-old body to cut the weight and his performance against Jake Shields in his last middleweight appearance was less than inspirational. On the flipside, as soon as he hopped back to the heavier weights, he immediately started knocking people out again, and hasn’t stopped.

Why would the UFC give its middleweight champion a fight against a guy who doesn’t want to fight at middleweight? Instead -- if Silva beats Sonnen/Stann and Hendo beats Rua -- doesn’t it make more sense to entice "The Spider" into a fight at light heavyweight, where Henderson will be most dangerous and where Silva has looked like an absolute wrecking machine in two previous appearances?

That way, in the somewhat unlikely event that Silva were to lose, he’d still be marketable as the UFC middleweight champion. If he won, well, that would only make the possibility of a fight against Jones seem all the more real.