The thoughts going through Yushin Okami's mind as he sat down on the stool in between the first and second round on Saturday night at UFC 134 must have been dark and desolate. The brief exchange along the fence was the only moment during the first frame that held potential for Okami to kickstart his campaign to test the champion. The opportunity quickly slipped away, and Anderson Silva seized the moment to remind the world why he is considered the best.
Silva shucked off Okami's takedown attempts, circled to the center of the cage, and stepped on the gas. Silva juked and jived around Okami's punches, sizzling hook counters into his chin. Silva went on the offensive with blazing speed and pinpoint accuracy. Okami didn't stand a chance.
Chugging his hands like the cylinders of an engine, Silva aggressively picked apart Okami in the second round, landing combinations so fast that the only sign they had reached their destination was Okami's head snapping backwards. Silva dropped his hands to his side, toyed with Okami one last time, and landed a downing right hand. The end came moments later as Silva punished Okami from the top to secure his ninth straight title defense.
Anderson Silva is undoubtedly one of the greatest fighters of all-time. It isn't just the fact that he is the most dominant champion in the history of the sport. It's the way in which he does it. A champion like Georges St. Pierre doesn't have the appeal of Silva because he can't produce similar results. What Silva does is mesmerizing and appealing. He isn't playing to the judges. No, he's playing to a fanbase that adores his brutality.
In the aftermath of UFC 134, the obvious question is what's next for Silva. He's crushed any and all opposition with the exception of Chael Sonnen. Sonnen seems to be the consensus pick for Silva's next encounter if he can get past the surging Brian Stann at UFC 136 in October. I tend to believe the story that Silva was hurt in their first fight however, and it may be a very different outcome the second time around.
After Sonnen, what else is there? UFC President Dana White has consistently suggested that Georges St. Pierre vs. Anderson Silva is a possibility down the road. I get the impression it's a last ditch attempt to pad the balance sheet before Silva retires however. It isn't a fight that interests me greatly, mainly due to the size difference between the two fighters. Georges St. Pierre may be the greatest welterweight of all-time, but I'm not sold that he can last past the second round against a consummate striker like Silva.
Vitor Belfort is another obvious choice if he can put together an impressive streak of wins. After that, super fights that exist outside of Silva's weight class might be his only option. Dan Henderson has stated he's willing to drop to 185 for Silva, and there is the outside possibility that Silva moves up in weight to take that fight if the money is right. What about Jon Jones? If Jones dominates his opposition over the next year or two, is that a fight fans want to see?
The options are slim for Silva. In the next couple of years, every fantasy match-up imaginable will run rampant through the MMA community. In my mind, none of those options are suitable for Silva. Georges St. Pierre will undoubtedly fight Anderson Silva because the UFC's brass continues to push its potential. In reality, it's a fight that seems lopsided on paper. Jon Jones might actually make more sense in two years than Georges St. Pierre. In the meantime, savor Anderson Silva's greatness. We may never see a more complete striker in this generation.