Dana White: 'I'd consider Rashad' Evans for middleweight title shot
While the undefeated Weidman (9-0 MMA, 5-0 UFC) is still in the running for a shot at UFC middleweight champion and pound-for-pound kingpin Anderson Silva (33-4 MMA, 16-0 UFC), White threw another possibility into the mix: UFC 156 co-headliner and light heavyweight Rashad Evans.
“I would consider Rashad,” White said. “If Rashad won on Saturday night and wanted to go to 185, we would consider that.”
“A lot of people think Chris Weidman is the No. 1 contender right now,” White said. “If Rashad made a move from 205 down to 185, it’d be safe to say he’s now No. 1.”
Chris Weidman can't catch a break.
And maybe this will finally be the fuel Evans needs to make the drop.
If the 39-year-old has any regrets in his octagon career, it’s that he wasn’t able to move up to middleweight to fight for a title. He said he would have fought Evan Tanner for the belt if Tanner had beaten his longtime friend Rich Franklin at UFC 53, but Franklin won, and told the UFC he wouldn’t face Franklin at the conclusion of “The Ultimate Fighter 2.”
“Anderson Silva,” Hughes said of the fighter he most wanted to face. “I always wanted to go up to 185 to put the belts together.”
Instead, Hughes settled in at welterweight. He said his first rematch with Penn, which saw him earn a third-round TKO, and a first-round TKO of Royce Gracie remain among his favorite memories in the UFC.
The potential Hughes-Tanner bout has been a good MMA trivia question for a long time. It's also interesting to think about what would have been if Frank Trigg had finished what he started in the first round against Hughes at UFC 52. It would have been him as a coach on "TUF 2" against Franklin.
Cung Le on talk of fighting Anderson Silva: 'I'm totally open for it'
That possibility came from Silva’s manager Ed Soares, who admitted even while saying it that he didn’t know whether it was a fight that would interest the UFC.
The mention flattered Le, who has been idle since his Nov. 10 knockout win against Rich Franklin. The 40-year-old, who has one foot planted in the fight world and the other in Hollywood, is in a position where he can pick the path of his future, and he admitted that a fight with Silva is something that would interest him.
“If the UFC wants me to fight after our discussion, I’m totally open for it,” he said on Monday’s edition of The MMA Hour.
While it's a good move on Le's part to step up to the plate and strike while the iron his hot, I don't think anyone seriously wants to see this fight other than Le, Silva and Soares. Silva would destroy Le inside of four minutes, and that's giving Le the benefit of the doubt.
Dana White said that Silva and Soares throwing around names of potential opponents is commonplace, and it's true. We've seen it before. And I don't know if the non-interest in Weidman is because of the threat he poses or his lack of name value. What I do know is that there are better choices out there for a title defense than Le.
“He weights 205 pounds now because he is already thinking about the weight cut to face GSP,” said Camoes, who works with the likes of Erick Silva, Rafael “Feijao” Cavalcante and Ronald “Jacare” Souza at X-Gym. “Anderson cutting about six pounds from the middleweight division and St-Pierre gaining six pounds from the welterweight limit would be a fair decision for both of them and to the crowd to see a great fight.
“It would be a crime Anderson Silva fighting at 170 pounds. He could hit that weight, but his physical decreases would be enormous. We’ve got to respect Georges St-Pierre, who isn’t only a fighter, but a monster, physically talking. If they fight as welterweights, GSP should have a considerable advantage.”
The only logical scenario for this fight is a catchweight. Silva feels he would be at the disadvantage moving to welterweight and St. Pierre feels the same way about moving to middleweight.
Georges St-Pierre Says He’ll Fight Anderson Silva “When it Makes Sense”
“I’m not scared of him (Silva) — it’s just that I will take this fight when it makes sense for me. I just came back from an injury, there’s money to be made, there are fights in my weight class, other challenges out there, and if I fight him, I will have to gain weight, while he will have to lose weight, and then afterwards, I won’t be able to come back to my weight class.
First and foremost, I have things to do at 170 pounds. When I am ready and when I want the fight, that’s when it will happen.”
After such a long layoff, I'd like to see St. Pierre get in a few more fights before he meets Silva. Potential fights with Nick Diaz and Johny Hendricks are exciting alternatives.
Zahabi: GSP Would Fight Silva at 170 Pounds
“If Anderson came down to 170 pounds, we’d say yes, 100 per cent, certainly,” Zahabi said. “But if we’re asking Georges to fight in a higher weight category, it’s another story.”
Zahabi differentiated the scenario with one nearly four years ago, when then-lightweight champion B.J. Penn moved up to St-Pierre’s weight class to challenge for his welterweight belt at UFC 94 (St-Pierre defeated Penn, also a former UFC 170-pound title-holder, by corner stoppage after the fourth round.)
“It could happen of course,” he said. “It definitely can happen, but for me, that’s far ahead in time. Right now, I’m not thinking about that. I can’t. My main thing right now is to get better, and then when I’m going to fight, to get ready to win the fight, what I need to do to win and beat the guy. I need to focus on one thing at a time.
“You never know what’s going to happen in the future,” he continued. “A lot of things can change. There are a lot of big fights coming up. Chris Weidman, I’ve seen him in training. He’s at a different level. He can be world champion if he fights Anderson first. So, this fight is not written in blood. If all goes well and all the stars are aligned, yeah, maybe one day it will happen. But right now, I just came back and I need to fight Carlos Condit. We’ll see what’s going to happen next.”
St-Pierre said that he understands the fans’ interest in the match, and said that he, too, has a desire to engage in a superfight that helps MMA “reach the next level.” But right now, it’s only something he can discuss in general terms, because there is no offer for it directly in front of him.
And with that, GSP gives another bland answer when it comes to fighting Anderson Silva. It seems like he's been on the fence about it for a few years now. Personally, I'm not sure that it's a fight he's ultimately comfortable with taking due to the severe negative impact it could have on his legacy if he were to lose. Nobody wants to be remembered as number two.
One other man that wants to lay claim to the coveted UFC middleweight title shot is Alan Belcher.
“I’ve put together a nice little streak,” Belcher remarked on a recent edition of AXS TV’s (formerly HDNet) Inside MMA.
That he has.
In his last seven trips to the Octagon, Belcher has only one blemish on his resume. He lost a split decision – in a fight many felt he won – to Yoshihiro Akiyama three summers ago at UFC 100.
Just in case you're counting, that now makes Belcher, Chael Sonnen, Patrick Cote, Rich Franklin, Cung Le, Chris Weidman, Mark Munoz, Michael Bisping, Luke Rockhold, Hector Lombard and Vitor Belfort that all have tried to lay a claim at a future shot at Silva.
Now's as good a time as ever, right?
“When we did the press conference down in Brazil, Silva hadn’t even agreed to fight him,” White said. “That fight wasn’t happening. I had them bring Anderson to the place where the press conference was, and we sat in a room for three hours fighting about the fight.”
Fans may remember the April 24 news conference in Rio de Janeiro for its late start. And White said that late start was because he and his biggest star were at odds over Silva signing on for the rematch.
Silva, as should come as little surprise, is not a fan of the brashness and trash talk that led up to UFC 117, and the talk that Sonnen has continued for nearly two years since then. But when Sonnen got on the plane with White, he flew to Brazil with no guarantee of a fight – only the hope that White could get Silva to agree to the rematch.
“Yeah, (Chael knew),” White said. “He knew there was no fight. (What Chael said) was true, absolutely true. We went down there to make that fight. We set up a press conference, and I had to get it done.”
As interesting as that story is and was, I'd be even more intrigued to find out what the UFC's plans were for the press conference had Anderson not agreed to the bout. Would they have allowed Sonnen to call him out again in his home country? Or would Dana and Chael have just held a "state of the UFC" address?