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Tuesday, November 13, 2012
Anderson Silva taking extended break

By Franklin McNeil
ESPN.com

Middleweight champion Anderson Silva said on Monday that he does not intend to return to action until late 2013.

"I'm on vacation from fighting," Silva told Brazil-based web site Tatame. "I (will) just come back at the end of next year."

Silva also said that he will use the time away from fighting to participate in a movie and focus on business matters.

The announcement throws a monkey wrench into UFC's plans for a super-fight between Silva and welterweight titleholder Georges St-Pierre and could potentially put the brakes on any middleweight contender's hopes of fighting for the title any time soon.

St-Pierre returns to action for the first time in more than a year Saturday night at UFC 154 in Montreal. He will meet interim titleholder Carlos Condit in the main event.

It is widely expected that a win by St-Pierre will set up a mega-bout with Silva. UFC president Dana White has hinted that the fight could take place at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas.

Silva will be in attendance at Bell Centre for UFC 154, but he will not enter the Octagon to challenge St-Pierre should the champion retain his belt.

"It is not my character to challenge anyone," Silva said. "It will not happen. I'm sure."

In his most recent bout, on Oct. 13, the 37-year-old Silva improved to 33-4 with a first-round knockout of Stephan Bonnar in a light heavyweight fight.

Silva defeated Chael Sonnen by second-round TKO in July during a highly anticipated rematch, and shortly thereafter stated he would not fight again in 2012. But he offered to compete at UFC 151 after light heavyweight champion Jon Jones refused to fight Sonnen on eight days' notice when challenger Dan Henderson withdrew due to injury. Silva's offer, however, did not include facing Jones.

Silva is currently ranked No. 1 pound-for-pound by ESPN.com, and St-Pierre is No. 3 on the list.

This latest decision by Silva to take a hiatus from fighting is not expected to interfere with St-Pierre's commitment heading into Saturday night's bout against the hard-hitting Condit.

"I don't care about Anderson Silva," St-Pierre said last week during a media call to promote UFC 154. "I'm focused on Carlos Condit right now."

Middleweight contender Michael Bisping, who has openly campaigned for a title shot for several months, doesn't want to wait for Silva's return. He took to Twitter on Monday to ask White to make his meeting with Vitor Belfort an interim title bout.

Bisping and Belfort, a former UFC light heavyweight champion, are scheduled to fight Jan. 19.