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Sunday, February 3, 2013
Chris Weidman tops contender chart

By Brett Okamoto
ESPN.com

LAS VEGAS -- The most likely challenger to Anderson Silva's middleweight belt is now Chris Weidman after light heavyweight Rashad Evans dropped a decision loss Saturday night to Antonio Rogerio Nogueira.

UFC president Dana White, speaking at the UFC 156 postfight news conference, said Weidman was the only viable option left.

"I liked Weidman before (Evans lost) anyway," White said. "So yeah, Rashad looked worse than I've ever seen him tonight."

The UFC had expressed interest in having Evans drop to middleweight and face the reigning champion Silva in his next fight.

Silva (33-4), the No. 1 pound-for-pound fighter in the world according to ESPN.com, has been publicly dismissive of a Weidman fight. But White said it's nothing but an act.

"Everybody thinks he's ducking Weidman," White said. "I don't know why he does this. He makes it look like he doesn't want to fight Weidman, but believe me right here and right now, Anderson Silva does not care who he fights."

A major heavyweight upset also clouded the title picture in that division.

Former Strikeforce champion Alistair Overeem had been promised a title shot against Cain Velasquez. That fight went up in smoke when Antonio Silva knocked out Overeem in the third round.

Silva (18-4) is coming off back-to-back knockout wins, but was utterly dominated by Velasquez in a first-round stoppage last May.

White acknowledged that fight, but said after watching Silva knock out the heavily favored Overeem, he wouldn't rule out elevating Silva to title contention.

"(Silva) and Cain Velasquez had just fought recently but I'm telling you, the way he looked in this fight against Alistair, maybe we do that fight again," White said. "I wouldn't be opposed to that."