Legend Anderson Silva has some very high expectations for his much-anticipated Octagon return in early 2015 against Nick Diaz. The long-time former middleweight champion stated on a media conference call that he believes their main event clash at UFC 183 has the makings to produce a truly memorable stand-up battle. The Jan. 31 matchup definitely has epic potential, and the buzz generated has it shaping up as one of the most significant UFC events of 2015.
The last images that fans had of “The Spider” in action was a horrific broken leg suffered in late December at UFC 168. The fight ended his title rematch against Chris Weidman in gruesome and shocking fashion. There were many who thought that it was the end of the line for one of the sport’s all-time greats, but Silva says retirement never once crossed his mind. He’s put in serious rehabilitation work since the injury and says his leg is at about 95 percent at the moment. Silva added while his family isn’t thrilled that he’s decided to resume his career, they are respectful of his wishes and coping with it.
Silva is highly respectful of his opponent’s fighting style and it’s the emphasis on the striking skills of both elite competitors that makes this a true Superfight. Despite the fact that the two men have combined to go winless in their last four UFC appearances, both Silva and Diaz remain two of the organization’s biggest draws and most recognizable names. Their inclusion provides instant star power to any event, and the fact that they are returning to square off against each other should produce an electric atmosphere in Las Vegas.
Silva had a remarkable 10 successful title defenses before losing his belt to Weidman in their initial clash at UFC 162. He’s recorded 20 knockout victories in his 33 career wins, and has produced many memorable finishes during his remarkable UFC tenure with his crisp, precise striking skills.
Diaz has some of the best cardio and boxing skills in the sport, but will be at a size disadvantage in the middleweight affair. The former UFC welterweight title challenger has produced 13 knockout wins in 26 career triumphs, and is the only man to have ever stopped top welterweight contender Robbie Lawler via strikes. Diaz also possesses a granite chin having been stopped via strikes just one time in his career.
It’s a fight that shapes up as a true stand-up war of attrition. Neither Silva nor Diaz have much reliance on securing takedowns and ground games, so it should be an intense striking battle. It’s one of those rare occasions where a true UFC dream matchup has finally become a reality for fans.
Rick LaFitte is an MMA Writer for Rant Sports.