UFC middleweight Costa Philippou wants winner of Wanderlei Silva vs. Brian Stann next

USA TODAY Sports

With his big win over Tim Boetsch in the books, UFC middleweight contender Costa Philippou is looking at some time off following a busy 2012, and then he has his sights set on fighting the winner of the upcoming fight between Wanderlei Silva and Brian Stann.

Constantinos Philippou is a rising talent in the middleweight division. While he had built up a nice 4 fight win streak he lacked a win against top 20 opposition. Opportunity came knocking when he replaced his teammate Chris Weidman at UFC 155 to fight Tim Boetsch. Philippou came out victorious via 3rd round TKO, giving him the highest profile win of his career.

Nearing the title picture, Costa is taking some time off and aiming for a June return. In an interview with MMA Weekly he expressed interest in fighting the winner of Wanderlei Silva vs. Brian Stann:

To be honest I don’t want to fight that soon, I still need some time to recover from my fight, and some time off to relax, but I’m definitely looking at the Brian Stann/Wanderlei Silva fight. I’d like to fight one of those guys if possible," Philippou revealed.

"Brian Stann would be a great match-up for me, Wanderlei Silva if he decides not to retire, I think would be able to put on a great fight. We’re both great strikers and it would be nice to fight a striker for a change and show my striking skills and put up and exciting show."

Silva and Stann are the main event of UFC on FUEL in Japan on March 2nd, although this bout is taking place at light-heavyweight. While Wanderlei is clearly in the twilight of his memorable career, Stann was a top 10 middleweight whose only losses at that weight class come against Chael Sonnen and Michael Bisping.

Realistically Costa is more likely to fight Stann than Wanderlei, and if Costa wants to inch himself closer to a title shot he'd be better off fighting Stann. And with Philippou's very good takedown defense and crisp boxing, he could certainly give Brian Stann a good scrap, in my opinion.

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