UFC President Dana White had the opportunity to play impromptu matchmaker following Wanderlei Silva’s middleweight debut victory against Michael Bisping at UFC 110 in Sydney, Australia.
At the post-fight press conference, White said Yoshihiro Akiyama has repeatedly requested a bout with Silva, who was a former Pride 205-pound champion and massive star in Japan, where Akiyama hails from.
“Akiyama wants to fight Wanderlei very bad,” said White. “It’s a big fight that he wants. We offered him another fight and he said he wants Wanderlei.”
White said he’d wait for the battling Brazilian to heal before discussing the bout, but Silva left little to contemplate, stating later that he’d also like to face the ethnic Korean in his next bout.
Silva’s Sunday victory over Bisping stalled the fighter’s slide in the UFC since returning to the promotion in December 2007. Silva is 2-3 in his second UFC run, which includes defeats to Chuck Liddell, Quinton “Rampage” Jackson and Rich Franklin. The 34-year-old Las Vegas resident is 3-5 overall for the promotion.
The 34-year-old Akiyama earned a split decision against Alan Belcher in his Octagon debut at UFC 100 last July. A former K-1 HERO’s light heavyweight champion, Akiyama holds key victories over Melvin Manhoef and Denis Kang.
A bout between Silva and Akiyama would generate massive interest from Japan, where both fighters have had fruitful careers.