By Rick LaFitte @RickLaFitte on June 22, 2014
UFC great Anderson Silva has taken another positive step on his road to recovery by being cleared to resume sparring. The longtime former middleweight champ is still targeting an early 2015 return and has made remarkable progress since suffering a broken leg at UFC 168. There's no doubt UFC officials would be ecstatic if he was able to push up his return to December of this year. Here are the Top 5 future fights to consider when Silva returns.
Silva’s striking skills would make for a fun fight against either Le or Bisping. Those two middleweights are due to meet on Aug. 23 in Macau, China. The Brazilian wouldn’t have to worry about any takedowns against either of those fighters and a stand-up war would be all but guaranteed. Le has a very unorthodox striking style while Bisping is a straight-ahead, pressure fighter who certainly knows how to sell a fight.
Rockhold has had a strong resurgence with back-to-back first-round finishes after losing in his UFC debut against Vitor Belfort. The former Strikeforce champion has emerged as a legitimate title threat. His kickboxing skills and strong grappling game would make for an excellent matchup against Silva. It would be a chance for Silva to immediately get back into title contention and also represent the biggest fight of Rockhold’s career.
Weidman has a tough upcoming title defense at UFC 175 against Lyoto Machida. Whether he still has the middleweight belt or not after July 5, a trilogy fight against Silva would still be meaningful. Weidman knocked out a clowning Silva in their first fight and the second clash ended because of the Brazilian’s gruesome injury. A third encounter would either see Silva get his revenge or Weidman prove he’s simply the better fighter.
This particular matchup is gaining major steam as a likely Octagon return fight for both talented competitors. Silva and Diaz would be a tremendous matchup of two proven UFC stars who pride themselves on their boxing skills. Diaz and Silva are both interested in facing one another, and it’s a matchup that would drum up huge business for the promotion. Silva vs. Diaz would have an incredible pre-fight buildup and would definitely be must-see TV.
While this potential blockbuster has lost some luster, it still remains one of the biggest fights that can be made. There simply aren’t many UFC matchups that would be as eagerly anticipated and prove as big a PPV draw as Silva vs. GSP. A superfight between the two legendary former champs has been discussed for years. St-Pierre is expected to eventually return to the UFC after electing to take a hiatus for an ACL injury.
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