It’s official: Anderson Silva will be making his return to the octagon at UFC 183 on January 31, 2015, as part of the UFC’s big Super Bowl weekend card. Meeting him in his return will be the ever-dangerous Nick Diaz.
The matchup is being called a “superfight” by fans and media members, despite the fact that neither man has fought of late, and both will have been out well over a year by the time the fight actually takes place: Silva for the entirety of 2014 due to a broken leg suffered at UFC 168, and Diaz for almost two years by the time the Silva fight takes place, as he “retired” after losing a welterweight title bout against Georges St-Pierre.
In truth, it’s simply the closest thing to a superfight the UFC can offer at the moment, since GSP remains retired, and any interest in a Silva-Jon Jones bout waned with the former’s title loss. Diaz is fighting up a weight class with the this matchup, which is never easy. Both fighters are coming off two straight losses, as Silva fell to Chris Weidman twice, and Diaz, in addition to the GSP loss, was outpointed by Carlos Condit back in 2012.
The two fighters have a relatively equal amount of experience in MMA: Silva is 33-6, while Diaz is 26–9 (1). Diaz has the added honour of fighting outside the UFC in both Pride and Strikeforce and was champion in the latter, but has never tasted UFC gold, while Silva was the most successful UFC champion in the promotion’s history.
History, in fact, is what this fight comes down to. A broken champion squaring off against a reclusive, controversial ex-champion who is thus far more remembered for his antics outside the cage than his actions in it, despite having a crowd-pleasing style and enough success to keep his name constantly in the news.
It’s simply as close to a superfight as we’re going to get at this point. And if nothing else, Diaz’s volume punching against Silva’s pinpoint accuracy and lightning-fast strikes should make for an entertaining clash in the Octagon.