UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva is not gunning to get back into the ring any time soon, according to manager Ed Soares, and after decimating Forrest Griffin at UFC 101 and prepping friend Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira for UFC 102, wants to rest and let the middleweight division sort itself out.
Silva rolled with Nogueira at open workouts for UFC 102 last weekend and looked every bit relaxed as he took in fights ringside. After middleweight Nate Marquardt smashed Demian Maia, UFC cameras caught a shrug and a "what, me worry" smile.
During the workouts, Soares told MMAWeekly.com he suggested the promotion make an interim title bout featuring the winner of Marquardt/Maia vs. Dan Henderson. The UFC didn't jump on the idea.
"They didn't really say much to it," said Soares.
While Marquardt's smashing victory eliminated one variable to the current list of contenders, UFC president Dana White declined to choose him over Dan Henderson as next in line.
"I've got to figure this thing out," said White at the post-fight press conference Saturday.
The two heirs apparent to contendership have fallen short to Silva, though Henderson holds the distinction of being the only man to win a round against the champ in his record-setting reign. Soares believes they should face one more test before getting a second shot at the 185-pound title.
"I think the fight that should happen is Nate Marquardt against Dan Henderson for the number one title contender," he said.
In the meantime, Soares continued, Silva needs time to recuperate.
"He'll take a rest... he's fought twice this year," he said. "He's got three fights left on his contract. He wants to work out a little kinks and bruises that he's got. He wants to take a little break."
White said he had plenty of options for Silva and made no mention of an interim strap.
"I'm in a good position (with the) 185-pound division right now," he told MMAWeekly.com in an exclusive interview. "It's a good problem to have. A bad problem to have is Anderson Silva and nobody to fight him at 185 pounds. Also have the Anderson Silva that can go to 205 and fight some of the best guys at 205, possibly fight for the title, possibly fight Lyoto Machida in a superfight."
More a problem, it seems, is keeping Silva interested in the opportunities available to him. The champ waded his way into light heavyweight waters after stating a desire to box (or just box Roy Jones Jr.), even going so far as to express interest in a heavyweight fight with Frank Mir, according to a recent report on SI.com.
White will bend a little to keep "The Spider" happy, but not that much.
"He'll box Roy Jones before he fights heavyweight, let's put it that way," said White.
The question now is how long "The Spider" wants to rest, and what intrigues him most when he returns. Soares said the opportunity would decide that.
"Like we've said before, he just wants to fight the best. Right now, Lyoto has the title, and he's not going to go after that title. Right now, he's relaxing and wants to take a little time off, and we'll see what happens."