With the cat already out of the bag on Anderson Silva vs Yushin Okami headlining UFC Rio, Dana White went ahead and confirmed the fight on Wednesday. Everyone’s initial reaction (or at least mine) was to shed some tears for an Anderson / Georges megafight that seems farther away now than it did when Dana laid out a roadmap to it back in January.
But upon less petty introspection, the fight makes sense. Anderson’s manager Ed Soares explains:
According to Silva’s manager, Ed Soares, the Brazilian champion wanted to stay active and defend his belt, and was concerned the timeline for a St-Pierre fight may have put him on the sidelines for too long.
“I don’t think it’s anything about switching gears,” Soares answered when asked why the UFC opted to go with Silva vs. Okami instead of Silva vs. GSP. “Whether GSP wins or loses or whatever happens to GSP, the show must go on. There’s what seven champions? They’ve got to stay busy. That’s the first thing.
“The second thing is GSP has mentioned that he’s going to have to put weight on. So even if he fought the end of April, it’s not like he’s going to be able to fight in at least six months, seven months; he’s going to have to put weight on.”
UFC Rio is at the end of August so that gives Georges at least 9 months from UFC 129 to when Anderson could fight again to prepare. So … Anderson’s calendar is set. All we have to do now is wait and see what GSP says after the Shields fight. And hope Yushin Okami doesn’t spoil everything by winning … which considering his style and Anderson’s recent performances isn’t all that far fetched.