In the second half of 2012, UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva’s focus was not on the 185-pound division. He fought Stephan Bonnar at light-heavyweight on short notice to save an injury-plagued UFC 153 card, plus he and his team spent much of the year pining for a super-fight with welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre, while many fans wanted to see Silva move up to have a super-fight with 205-pound champ Jon Jones.
To start 2013 though, Silva’s focus will be back on the middleweight division. According to ESPN, UFC president Dana White said he expects the superstar to defend his title three more times before he starts talking about the desired super-fight with GSP again.
“There’s probably three fights out there for him at 185 pounds, then Georges will have a few more fights under his belt because the guy’s been out such a long time,” White said after UFC 155. “Before (GSP) blew his knee out, he was ready to roll.”
It should be noted though that White has made super-fight promises in the past that never came to fruition. In fact, leading up to UFC 154 White proclaimed Silva would fight St-Pierre if the Canadian defeated Carlos Condit at the Nov. 17 event in Montreal. GSP won the bout, but the UFC didn’t make the super-fight and has since set up a fight between GSP and Nick Diaz in March.
With that White announced on Saturday at the UFC 155 post-fight press conference that Michael Bisping will be Silva’s next challenger if the Brit can beat Vitor Belfort in the main event of UFC on Sportsnet: Belfort vs. Bisping on Jan. 19 in Sao Paulo, Brazil.
Other potential contenders Silva could end up facing in the next 12-18 months including rising star Chris Weidman, former Bellator champion Hector Lombard, and Strikeforce middleweight champ Luke Rockhold who is expected to make his UFC debut in 2013.
Silva, who will turn 38 in April, recently signed a new 10-fight deal with the UFC, which gives him enough leeway to compete at 185 pounds and seek out future super-fight opportunities as well.
“I don’t think we’ve ever done a 10-fight deal,” White told MMAweekly.com. “Maybe we did one with Forrest (Griffin) once, I don’t remember, but Anderson said, ‘I want a 10-fight deal, not an eight-fight deal.’ I’ll give him a 100-fight deal if he wants one.
“Ten more fights, realistically, is three more years. I mean, the guy is (almost) 38, but he doesn’t look it.”
On New Year’s Eve Silva took to Twitter to vow he would still be middleweight champion at the end of 2013.
What will you do in 2013?I will train harder than ever to #makeitcount and end 2013 as it started, as a champion.#justdoit