The announcement of Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva getting a UFC heavyweight title shot by virtue of his TKO victory over Alistair Overeem at UFC 156 didn’t surprise me, but it did kind of disappoint me.
Currently, the UFC heavyweight champion is Cain Velasquez. And for those of you who don’t remember (I don’t know how you couldn’t), Velasquez completely dismantled Silva when the two fought last May.
The fact that Velasquez bloodied and brutalized Silva the way he did is what makes this decision a bit disappointing to me. Yes, Silva has done well since that loss with some impressive knockouts. But when a fight is as one-sided as Velasquez’s win over Silva last year was, it might make it hard for people to want to invest $45 to see that fight again.
The fact that it’s been a year and that anything can happen in a fight is not going to be enough to make people believe Silva even has a chance.
Junior dos Santos, the man Velasquez won the title from at UFC 155, is currently booked to fight Overeem on the same card as Velasquez/Silva II. He would be a perfect opponent for Silva because it is another high-level opponent, as well as the most well-rounded fighter in UFC’s heavyweight division other than Velasquez.
It would be a win/win for UFC because if they made that fight and Silva won, it would make people believe Silva has a better chance against Velasquez in a rematch. If dos Santos won, UFC would get a trilogy with their biggest name heavyweights.
There is a couple of heavyweight bouts coming up that could also create some drama in the heavyweight division.
On UFC’s next nationally televised card, Daniel Cormier will make his UFC debut against Frank Mir. Cormier won Strikeforce‘s infamous heavyweight grand prix tournament with a great performance in the final and a knockout win over Silva in the semifinals.
Should Cormier beat Mir, the case is easy to make that Cormier/Silva II could be made with the winner of that fight getting a title shot.
This coming weekend in Japan, Stefan Struve and Mark Hunt will do battle inside the octagon. Struve has been slowly building momentum within the heavyweight division and a win here, while not against a top-level opponent, should be enough to warrant him finally getting a fight against a much bigger name in the division.
What I’m getting at is that there are plenty of fights to be made in UFC’s heavyweight division, and that Velasquez is head and shoulders above everyone else at the moment.
So to make the first title defense of his second reign as champion be against someone he beat to a bloody pulp last year seems a bit silly to me.
Nothing against Silva, but losing two rounds and then TKO’ing Overeem doesn’t earn him a title shot in my opinion, even with a nice KO in his previous bout. He should have to go through at least one more top-level talent in the division, especially since the champ is someone who handed him his last loss, and that it wasn’t that long ago when that loss took place.