Anderson Silva could get a title shot with a win over Nick Diaz. | Dave Mandel/Sherdog.com
Anderson Silva once held the UFC middleweight title for 2,458 days, cementing his spot as one of the promotion’s greatest champions.
With a win over Nick Diaz -- a man who has not competed in nearly two years -- Silva could get a chance to earn that belt back sooner than expected. During an interview on UFC Tonight, Dana White indicated that “The Spider” would be the No. 1 contender with a victory at UFC 183.
“2015 is starting off with amazing fights. It’s the best January in the company’s history. And all these fights lead to bigger fights,” White said. .... “You’ve got [Vitor Belfort vs. Chris Weidman], then Anderson. If Anderson wins, he can fight the winner of either Vitor or Weidman.”
The decision to move Silva to the front of the 185-pound waiting list could raise some eyebrows, especially if Weidman defeats Belfort at UFC 184 on Feb. 28. Silva is coming off back-to-back losses to Weidman, including a gruesome defeat at UFC 168, where a checked kick forced the Brazilian to undergo emergency surgery on his broken left leg.
That injury has sidelined Silva for more than a year, and new contenders have emerged in his absence. Those who could have a claim to a title shot include the winner of the UFC 184 bout between Ronaldo Souza and Yoel Romero, as well as the victor of a rumored matchup pitting Luke Rockhold against Lyoto Machida.
Still, Silva is likely the biggest draw in the division, and his return to the Octagon is shaping up as one of 2015’s most anticipated moments. However, even White admits there are plenty of unknowns heading into Jan. 31.
“It’s an interesting fight,” he said. “After the injury, where is Anderson going to be mentally? He does the right thing and is going to be in shape, but will he throw the leg kicks the way he used to? Nick Diaz hasn’t fought in a while. So who knows, we’ll see what happens.”