Recently I heard an interview with Anderson Silvas manager Ed Soares in which he stated he believed the UFC middleweight champion could “beat any fighter at any weight today”. Obviously Soares was riding high with his client having just come off his rematch victory over rival Chael Sonnen but his claim did make me ponder how “The Spider” would fare against some of the sports best outside of his weight class. In advance I make no claims that I am confident whether he would win or lose the following fantasy matchups but they are intriguing enough to debate in my opinion.
Silva vs Georges St. Pierre – Why not start with a matchup that has been talked about for a few years now and at one time actually seemed like would come to fruition. At the time not only fans and media were speculating about a fight between the two long reigning champs but UFC president Dana White himself discussed the possibility of arranging it. Over the past year talks of a showdown between Silva and GSP have been put on the backburner yet fans continue to debate who would win a fantasy bout between the two as they’ve continued to defeat all challengers to their titles. With Silva perhaps getting close to the end of his career and St. Pierre accumulating a new list of opponents it’s unlikely this fight takes place but it’s one many will always wonder what if.
Who wins? – I have to go with the reigning middleweight champ in this one. Perhaps St. Pierre could replicate the blueprint Chael Sonnen laid out and use his excellent takedowns and wrestling base to control Silva on the ground for 5 rounds en route to a decision victory. The more likely scenario however is that Silva picks GSP apart on the feet and finishes him in the championship rounds.
Silva vs Jon Jones - Speaking of champion vs champion matchups, now that the Silva/GSP debate has cooled down the new fantasy fight fans are talking about is between “The Spider” and UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones. Much like Silva, Jones has been dominant thus far during his title reign defeating 4 former UFC champions with only one of those contests going the distance. When asked about a bout between the two neither expressed interest but at the moment it is the most intriguing pairing in MMA.
Who wins? – This may be the most difficult contest to predict a victor in as neither has been beaten inside the octagon, sure Jones has lost but by a dubious disqualification. While Anderson has shown he is vulnerable if placed on his back Jones has yet to show any deficiencies that can be exploited. While we still don’t know how well Jones can or cannot take a solid strike to the head, partcularly coming from Anderson Silva, “Bones” has better than anybody in the sport used his reach advantage perfectly, keeping opponents at a distance where they have little chance of catching him. I envision Jones playing it smart by taking Silva down and unleashing the kind of damage while on top that Sonnen couldn’t and not only being the first man to defeat The Spider in the UFC but do so under 5 rounds.
Silva vs Junior dos Santos – If we’re discussing how Anderson Silva would fare against other UFC champions amongst others, we might as well size him up against the companies biggest title holder, heavyweight champion Junior dos Santos. Once again we would have a meeting between two fighters who are unbeaten in the octagon in a battle of two of Brazils most popular sports figures. Although Anderson has fought twice successfully at light heavyweight inside the UFC he would be at a marked size and stength disadvantage against dos Santos. The biggest question going into this one would be if Silva would be able to absorb the punches of the powerful heavyweight. That, and at least for one night we’d have an answer to the old adage of who wins between a good big man vs little man, or in Silvas case, a great “little” man.
Who wins? – The Spider is clearly the more polished and technical striker but that doesn’t mean he’d be the more proficient one in this instance. JDS has finished all but two opponents in his UFC career and the two times in which he didn’t, against Shane Carwin and Roy Nelson, both absorbed tremendous beatings. It’s difficult to envision Silva being able to stand up to dos Santos’ firepower for too long given the size disparity between the two. Of course Anderson would be the faster fighter and has shown a remarkable ability to slip and avoid punches. That said unless the middleweight champ could find a way to slow JDS down early he might be fighting on borrowed time until dos Santos lands a shot that hurts Silva and finishes him shortly after.
Silva vs Nick Diaz - It’s funny because when I initially came up with the idea for this article I was debating whether or not to include Nick Diaz as potential opponents for Anderson Silva. Since that time Diaz himself has expressed his desire to face Silva and The Spider has taken to the matchup as well, or so their managers say. Unfortunately Diaz is currently serving a 12 month suspension and will not be able to compete until February 2013 making the possibility of such a fight taking place later rather than sooner. Diaz is coming off a failed bid at the interim UFC welterweight championship, losing by decision to Carlos Condit and while fans still yearn for a fight between Diaz and Georges St. Pierre, a challenge of Silva should suffice in the meantime.
Who wins? – Anyone who is familiar with my work already knows by now that Nick Diaz is my favorite fighter and while I have no doubt he would try his best I can’t see him beating Silva. Nick has fought close to middleweight before but never against a fighter the calibur of The Spider. Diaz may have one of, if not the best chin in MMA but his willingness to take strikes would be his downfall against Silva. I suppose the most intriguing aspect of this bout would be to see if Nick could absorb Andersons full arsenal for 25 minutes. I for one would surely like to find out one way or another.
Silva vs Fedor Emelianenko - And last but certainly not least, we come to Anderson Silva vs Fedor Emelianenko, a contest between the two fighters who were for years debated as to which was the best all time mixed martial artist. After Fedor suffered 3 consecutive defeats in 2011 the argument for Emelianenko lost alot of weight but that doesn’t make this all time hypothetical showdown any less appealing to many longtime fans of the sport. Fedor recently announced his retirement from MMA after easily dispatching of Pedro Rizzo but at age 35 one must imagine he still has some fight in him. Of all the fantasy fights on this list this is the least likely one of taking place but that matters not because if it ever did all eyes would be on it.
Who wins? – Prior to the year 2011 I would likely have chosen Fedor in this clash but I can’t get the image of him being finished by Dan Henderson out of my mind, a fighter easily bested by Silva himself. If Fedor could get Anderson to the ground he might be able to unleash some of his once vaunted ground and pound but it says here that Silva slices him up on the feet leading to a stoppage on cuts. If nothing else we would finally find out who is the superior of the two legends.
BONUS – Silva vs Roy Jones - Just as I was about to wrap up this article I remembered about Silvas proclamation of how he wanted to have a boxing match against Roy Jones Jr. before his fighting career was over. Even though the one time pound for pound king of the ring was past his prime at the time there were still few who thought he’d lose to Silva. Sadly much like too many fighters before him Roy has continued to fight despite diminishing results. Jones is coming off a win, albeit a close split decision against last minute replacement Pawel Glazewski. Obviously Roy will always be a better boxer than Silva but at this point in his career that may not be enough.
Who wins? – Considering Anderson Silva continues to look dominant while Roy has been anything but I still have to favor RJ in this one. Silva may be one of, if not the best standup fighters in MMA however against Jones in the ring he’d be relegated to using just his hands and as faded as he is, Roy still knows more inside the squared circle than Anderson. It probably wouldn’t be the exciting or the emphatic result boxing fans would hope for but regardless RJ wins in a clear cut decision.
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