It's the day after Anderson Silva's huge victory over Chael Sonnen. If anything, it was Chael's fight to lose -- and lose he did. In fact, he lost in a spectacular fashion that brought back memories of Arlovski's "flying suicide" attack on Fedor Emelianenko at Affliction: Day of Reckoning. It made me think of Shinya Aoki's bizarre, ill-fated attempt at delivering an elbow from a peculiarly low-power angle against Eddie Alvarez at Bellator 66. Of course, hindsight is twenty-twenty, but these are three instances in which great fighters, who all had a respectable chance to capture a career-defining victory, threw months of gameplanning out the window and rolled the dice. All three rolls ended in embarrassing losses for the challengers.
It's no secret; I wanted Chael Sonnen to beat Anderson Silva. I have never rooted for Silva, and unless he fights Jon Fitch for some reason, I probably never will. I can keenly remember that horrible feeling in my gut as Silva whooped on a balled up Chael Sonnen. It was the same feeling I had when Frank Mir was utilizing the interesting strategy of playing possum while Brock Lesnar pounded his face through the cage. Just a sick feeling in which I realized just how infrequently my underdog wins. Coming away from almost every UFC card, I feel disappointed.
Not because of the quality of the fights. I'm not one of those detractors who says that the UFC is "on the decline". No, it's because I always root for the underdog. Whether it was when the Hurricane got knocked silly by Junior Dos Santos, when Lyoto Machida got choked unconscious by Jonny Joke Jones, or when Kenny Florian got mercilessly dry-humped by Gray Maynard, I constantly face disappointment.
But the day after is always a day of looking forward to the future. And today, fans have been asking one very important question: what's next for Anderson Silva? Interestingly, I have yet to hear anyone mention the obvious next step for the dominant middleweight. To me, the next fight for Anderson Silva is not Michael Bisping, Mark Munoz, or even Hector Lombard. No, there is another fight that fans would much rather see. That fight depends on one of the most despicable people to ever grace the cage (just hating). He's a man that defeated one of my favorite fighters, and I can only hope that he doesn't again foil my plans to see Anderson Silva lose. That man is after the jump.
The answer may surprise you, and you might disagree. But Anderson's next fight depends on Carlos Condit. Here's why.
First, a lot is up in the air in terms of the middleweight division. Bisping hasn't clearly paved the road to a title shot.. yet. He still has some development to do. Hector Lombard will likely get the fast-track to a title shot, but he won't get there without beating a very tough Tim Boetsch, and even if he wins, Boetsch is not title-shot-granting material. Finally, some might argue that Weidman and Munoz are due for a shot, and that may be true. However, neither of the men are draws, and Weidman is a virtual unknown to casual fans.
This leaves the one superfight that fans have been clamoring for for years: the mega-hyper-ultra-superfight between Anderson Silva and Georges St. Pierre.
A lot of fans might argue that this would mean a huge layoff for Silva and is therefore unlikely to occur as Silva has very little time left on his clock. But that is precisely why it will happen.
First, I predict that Anderson Silva is going to ask for an extended period of time off. He has been in the spotlight far more than he prefers to be, and probably feels that he dodged a major bullet in that he survived the takedowns of Chael Sonnen early-on and finished him quickly. He's going to want to bask in the victory for a while. Second, Silva won't be interested in a fight with world-renowned trash talkers Munoz or Weidman (read: sarcasm) as they are not draws and most of his revenue comes from PPV cuts. The biggest money making fight for Silva would be the fight between himself and St. Pierre. Finally, a win against St. Pierre would finally and definitively answer the question of whether he is the "goat". To close out his career and retire after a victory would truly make him the greatest fighter in the history (and possibly the future) of the UFC.
However, in order for this to happen, St. Pierre has to come off of an extremely long layoff and convincingly assault and batter Carlos Condit. With Silva's name-value at an all-time high, a Fitch-esque win over Condit will not set up the superfight. No, he has to stop Condit.
This is precisely why Anderson Silva's next fight depends on Carlos Condit. Condit effectively spoiled the night for Nick Diaz, who was widely expected to take to the victory. It took a well-thought gameplan by Greg Jackson to do so. And Jackson knows St. Pierre very well; both his strengths as well as his weaknesses.
The question is, will Condit be prepared for St. Pierre? If he comes in under the blessing of Jackson, then Silva may be forced to take a fight against a lesser opponent in Munoz, Wiedman, Lombard, or Bisping. But, if St. Pierre is able to return to form and demolish an overwhelmed Carlos Condit, then Silva's final fight in the UFC is all but set in stone. After seeing that a strong wrestler can have success against Silva, I think that St. Pierre has the tools to win.
So, here's to hoping! It seems that my plans are always foiled by someone. But that doesn't change the message: Anderson Silva's next, and perhaps final fight, depends on Condit.