Anderson Silva returned to the UFC octagon at UFC 234 last weekend with a surprisingly impressive showing against Israel Adesanya.
And in a lot of ways, it was as perfect a return as we could have realistically hoped to see from the legend at this point in his run.
Both technicians danced in a tactical battle for fifteen minutes and despite Stylebender’s status as a clear favourite in the eyes of the bookies, the bout was a pretty intriguing clash that was by no means the blow-out many had predicted.
With that being said, Anderson won’t be finding himself in UFC middleweight title-contention any time soon so with that in mind, here are four matchups within the UFC that would be fun for the Brazilian at this point in his career, and four more on the global scene if he decides to leave the promotion behind him.
Within the UFC
A step up to 205lbs wouldn’t be the most outlandish decision The Spider could make. He holds some pretty terrific wins during his prime against the heavier men but, of course, the matchup would have to be the right one. As two former champions who never fought, who wouldn’t want to see him throw down with his fellow legend Mauricio ‘Shogun’ Rua?
As perhaps the most realistic option this list, do not be surprised if the UFC elect to attempt to set up this matchup again before long. Hall has for a long time been seen as one of the prime examples of a fighter who just never lived up to the hype that surrounded him – hype that saw many make a deserving comparison to Silva during his earlier years. Admit it, this one would be a lot of fun.
Here’s one that’s a bit more outlandish than the rest. Manuwa is one hell of an action fighter but as we all know, he has found himself to be a bit chinny at the worst of times. If Silva does decide to step up in weight, sure, there would be a huge risk of sustaining some serious damage at the hands of his hard-hitting Englishman but UFC 234 proved to us all that Anderson is still quite difficult to catch directly.
Nobody wants to see that fight – not even UFC president Dana White.
.@danawhite not a big fan of a McGregor vs. Silva fight 🤣
— Submission Radio (@SubmissionRadio) February 10, 2019
When you’re dealing with a fighter in their twilight years, sometimes it’s important to leave logic to one side and just make a fun scrap for the fans. Gokhan Saki hasn’t exactly had the best start to his UFC career but as a legend within the sport of kickboxing – a scrap with Silva over three rounds could well be an incredible showcase.
Outside of the UFC
If Anderson does decide to leave the UFC and test himself in a different organisation, here are another four long-shots that would provide some entertainment for us all (Silva included) before he inevitably calls it quits.
Bellator signee Machida has made his intention to fight that both 185lbs and 205lbs clear and if for some reason his fellow Brazilian Silva found himself called upon by Scott Coker, a matchup between two of the most unique strikers in the history of the sport would be amazing to behold.
There’s virtually no way he’ll be able to pull off the win more impressively than he did the first time but if Silva could do enough to coax ‘The Phenom’ Belfort out of his admittedly unconvincing state of semi-retirement, we’re sure no-one would complain if they decided to run it back.
This one may divide some of you folks but out of everyone on this list, not one man would be able to sell a fight with Anderson Silva as much as The Bad Guy. The fight itself would probably be underwhelming at best but who wouldn’t want to see Chael on the mic in a reprisal of one of the most entertaining rivalries in MMA history.
Another guy who is in the final years of his career but never once threw down with The Spider, a fight between these two legendary Brazilians would be a fitting way for either man to finish their career and while each has certainly seen better days, both still possess the intensity and gamesmanship of a man ten years younger.
Cillian Cunningham, Pundit Arena