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Anderson Silva will receive middleweight title shot with UFC 183 win over Nick Diaz

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UFC president Dana White confirmed to UFC Tonight that Anderson Silva will jump to the front of the line and earn a middleweight title shot if he beats Nick Diaz on January 31st.

Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Apparently one of the perks of being one of the greatest of all-time is that your path back to a championship fight isn't too difficult. On today's new episode of UFC Tonight on Fox Sports 1, UFC president Dana White told hosts Kenny Florian and Brian Stann that if Anderson Silva defeats Nick Diaz at UFC 183 on January 31st, Silva will receive the next middleweight title shot. This means that Silva would either fight champion Chris Weidman a 3rd time or rematch Vitor Belfort, pending the outcome of that fight on February 28th.

Silva (33-6) has not fought since his horrific leg break in his 2nd meeting with Chris Weidman at UFC 168 in December 2013. It was a fight that the 39-year-old was clearly losing, and he'd nearly suffered a 1st round TKO loss after he was knocked down in a clinch battle. Prior to his back-to-back defeats against Weidman, Silva was the sport's most dominant champion, having defended the middleweight belt 10 times and come away victorious in his first 16 UFC fights.

So to summarize - all Silva, without a middleweight win since Chael Sonnen in July 2012, needs to do is beat Nick Diaz, who has 0 career middleweight fights and hasn't won a fight since B.J. Penn in October 2011. This also means that the winner of Ronaldo Souza vs. Yoel Romero at UFC 184 probably has to take another fight to earn his title shot. However, White did not make any promises about Diaz getting a title shot (at either welterweight or middleweight) should he pull off the upset.

Perhaps the UFC sees Weidman vs. Silva 3 or (far less likely) Belfort vs. Silva 2 as being more bankable than anything involving Messrs Rockhold, Jacare, Romero, and Machida, or it's a final gesture to one of the sport's most legendary fighters. Either way, it's hard to envision a scenario where a potential 3rd fight between Weidman and Silva garners remotely the same interest as the previous two clashes, let alone result in a different winner.