For years now, Boxing has been waiting on Manny Pacquiao to take on Floyd Mayweather Jr in a fight that is considered to have more potential for earnings than any bout in the sports long history. Yet it hasn’t happened. The way the UFC’s talent pool is aligning itself for 2012, it looks like they have a burgeoning superfight of similar proportions in MMA that we are unlikely to see. I’m talking about UFC Middleweight champion Anderson Silva and 205 lb Champion Jon Jones. Though it has been talked about a bit already, in 2012 the UFC will likely face a lot more pressure to make this fight happen.
Jones still has some work to do in the 205 lb division, with matches against Rashad Evans and Dan Henderson having some intrigue. Likewise the Chael Sonnen match for Silva is something everyone wants to see. But both men are leaving the UFC matchmaking team with very few options beyond that and it is unlikely that Phil Davis or Mark Munoz is going to develop enough in the coming year to make for a gigantic superfight with their respective titleholders.
Let’s put a final nail in the GSP versus Silva bout. I don’t want to see it. GSP is too small, he is heading into a long recovery and he really doesn’t have the skill set to beat Silva, IMO.
What the UFC has to measure is who will replace Silva as the acknowledged most dominant fighter in the organization. Silva is also facing a recovery period, and he is now in his mid 30′s. Sometime soon, the UFC will see Anderson slip from the top spot.
Let’s say Sonnen loses while he stays active during Silva’s recovery – then who does Silva fight next?
Of all the fighters on the roster, it is Jon Jones, who is still in his mid 20′s who is most likely to carry the UFC flag going forward. What the UFC has to consider is that this coronation really needs the proving ground of a match with Silva. If Silva were to retire on top, Jones would likely assume the mantle of top pound for pound fighter anyway, but Jones ascension would be much more solid if he actually defeated Silva.
Anderson Silva, the number one pound for pound fighter in the world for many years, would be the underdog for a Jones fight in my opinion.
Jones will win fighter of the year for 2011, it is almost certain. If he defeats Evans in early 2012, then a match with Silva would be the bigest potential earner for the UFC in 2012. So Dana, as they say, let’s make it happen!