Silva looks toward UFC card in Brazil, possible GSP showdown
SAN DIEGO -- Anderson Silva says he's perfectly happy to close out his current UFC contract and, perhaps, his fighting career in the division he's ruled going on four years.
The UFC middleweight champion has in the past considered trips to welterweight, light heavyweight, and even heavyweight as he's proven himself a cut above the rest at 185 pounds. But he said his focus is now directed on one division, and also toward his next fight, which, if he gets his way, will take place during the promotion's first trip to his home country of Brazil in almost 13 years.
"It's a great opportunity for MMA in Brazil," he said of the event -- possibly UFC 134 -- which is expected to take place Aug. 27 at the 18,000-seat HSBC Arena in Rio de Janeiro.
Just who is standing across from him next is up in the air. What's certain, though, is that there won't be any more experiments at light heavyweight, where he's flirted twice with spectacular results.
And heavyweight? Forget about it.
"I'm very, very happy in my category," an English-speaking Silva (28-4) told SI.com at an gym opening Saturday for longtime teammates Antonio Rodrigo and Antonio Rogerio Nogueira.
That, of course, comes as bad news for those recently amped for a meeting between Silva and Jon Jones. The newly minted light heavyweight king sparked immediate interest in the matchup with his decimation of Mauricio "Shogun" Rua this past month at UFC 128.
Silva, who's moonlighted at 205 pounds during his current reign with wins over Forrest Griffin and James Irvin, called Jones "amazing" but said fans jumped the gun in pairing them.
"(In) the UFC, a lot of fights [are] possible to fight," Silva said. "I'm maintaining my focus for my category."
The middleweight champ said he's much more interested in another possible fight that, until recently, was the sole object of UFC fans' affection -- a meeting with Georges St-Pierre. The welterweight champion has been officially cued up for Silva if he can defeat Jake Shields at UFC 129.
Some in the throng of well-wishers chanted St-Pierre's name when Silva arrived several hours late to the gym on Saturday, as a queue of several hundred that started at 4 a.m. wound around the edges of the shopping center housing the facility. Silva signed for several hours and often joked with his teammates. He was cautiously optimistic about the potential superfight.
"I'm very happy and excited for the fans that like me and GSP," he said. "It's a great fight. It's a great show, in my opinion."
Whether St-Pierre is on the same page is another story. The French-Canadian has expressed doubts about moving up in weight and said he's not even thinking about the prospect until the resolution of his fight with Shields, which serves as his sixth title defense.
"It's a complete reorientation of my career," he told Versus this past month. "I have a lot to lose."
Silva, however, said he's ready to lose pounds to line up the fight in August.
"Maybe a catchweight," he said, and later added: "This is not my decision. This is Dana (White's) decision."
For his part, the UFC president has repeatedly pumped the brakes on the fight since he greenlighted its possibility following Silva's win over Vitor Belfort at UFC 126 -- a record-setting eighth consecutive title defense and 13th consecutive UFC win. White maintains Silva vs. St-Pierre is a "fantasy fight" and will remain so until St-Pierre gets his hand raised at the sold-out, record-breaking event set for April 29 in Toronto. And then there's Yushin Okami, whom White said is next for Silva if Shields is victorious.
Okami is widely viewed as the last incomplete in Silva's reign over the middleweight division. The Japanese fighter is riding a three-fight win streak, including a win over Nate Marquardt this past November that cleared him for a title shot, and holds a win over Silva in 2006 stemming from an illegal upkick that disqualified Silva in first round.
Silva said he's moved past that misfortune. If Okami is next, he said he'll be ready for that challenge. If it's St-Pierre, same deal.
Although observers feel that Jones and St-Pierre are the only fighters skilled enough to give him a fight, Silva said there are plenty of challenges to take on.
"All the fighters have (a) chance for this belt," he said. "(In) my opinion, I'm not the best."