Anderson Silva has been getting shit for going from saying he wants to get back in the cage ASAP to turning down a potential February match up with Thales Leites. As fans, we’re selfish bastards and want to see Silva back in the octagon sooner rather than later, “putting the stamp on kids” (thank you Chris Leben). It looks like Silva wants to have his cake and eat it too; he wants a high quantity of fights but he doesn’t want to sacrifice quality to do it. I think it’s obvious that match ups with guys like James Irvin, Patrick Cote, and Thales Leites aren’t exactly fights that are going to add much to Silva’s legacy in the sport or line his wallet the way a super fight with Chuck Liddell would.
Despite Silva’s utter dominance since his debut with the UFC, they’re treating him like Cinderella was treated by her step-mother, which I think is an appropriate metaphor considering MMA fans and Disney fans are practically the same demographic. He has proved his superiority to his contemporaries (i.e. everyone) yet is being served prison food while guys like Randy Couture, Georges St. Pierre, and BJ Penn are eating surf ‘n turf on a consistent basis. There is an old adage that a person is judged by the company he keeps. In mixed martial arts, that translates to a fighter being judged by the quality of competition he faces. A fighter’s opponent also translates to financial gains.
Georges St. Pierre has reached legendary status and no doubt made enough cash to buy all the french berets his heart could possibly desire in match-ups against the likes of the Matt twins, Jon Fitch, and now Baby Jay. Asking Silva to step into the octagon against Thales Leites would be the equivalent of telling St. Pierre his next fight will be against Marcus Davis or Dustin Hazelett: good fighters who simply don’t carry the name recognition at this point to make the match all that compelling and thus not worth GSP’s time.
This is all part of my conclusion that Chael Sonnen is out of his fucking mind if he thinks he should fight Silva upon his return to the UFC. While this jovial fellow might disagree, Silva has cleared out the middleweight division and needs a big fight at the current juncture. Sorry, Chael, but the idea of you getting a shot at the Spider – based off of your earth shattering performance against Paulo Filho – doesn’t exactly give me goose bumps. After all, Filho looked less like a fighter and more like the 17 year old ecstasy-fueled girls who I “tutor” on the weekends – and Sonnen failed to put him away or even look all that impressive.
Long story short, Silva has every right to be treated the same way guys like Randy, GSP, and Penn have been treated in terms of opponent quality. Anything otherwise is an injustice towards Silva on the part of UFC management. Fights with legends like Liddell and Couture or even with the suddenly relevant Robbie Lawler are the types of fights Silva needs to be involved in. The best fighter in the world needs and deserves the biggest fights available – it’s that simple.