Anderson Silva Will Need To Vacate Title, If He Beats Sonnen And BelfortPosted on May 7, 2010, 12:54 PM by comonson
MONTREAL – With any fighter in any division, looking beyond that competitor's next matchup is never a safe thing to do.That's true even with the seemingly unbeatable UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva (26-4 MMA, 11-0 UFC), who faces top contender Chael Sonnen (24-10-1 MMA, 4-3 UFC) at UFC 117 in August.But when you're 11-0 in the UFC, a different set of rules tends to apply. And while UFC president Dana White believes Sonnen may prove Silva's toughest test in recent memory, he does have an idea of where a win would take "The Spider.""In my opinion, [Anderson's] got Chael, who's earned that title shot, and he's got Vitor Belfort," White said on Thursday. "Once he fights those two guys, he's cleaned out that division, and I will press very hard for him to move to 205 pounds."Don't think for a minute that White is looking past Sonnen. The outspoken Oregonian has turned heads in recent months with five wins in six fights – a run that includes one-sided victories over top contenders Nate Marquardt, Yushin Okami and Dan Miller.It's just that Belfort (19-8 MMA, 8-4 UFC), the hard-hitting Brazilian, was already scheduled to face Silva in April before an injury to "The Phenom" allowed Maia to step in.Despite the fact that Belfort has yet to compete in the UFC at 185 pounds, and despite the fact that Silva's camp openly questioned Belfort's worthiness as a title challenger, White believes it's the next logical matchup if the champion retains his belt."Vitor is a worthy opponent that I think people will want to see," White said. "He's a former champion at 205 pounds. He's a legend in the sport. I've had my issues with Vitor in the past, too, but to say that Vitor isn't a top contender at 185 is crazy."I'm just saying, in my opinion, [Anderson's] got two more fights at 185."Some MMA pundits have suggested that Silva is already at a point where a move to light heavyweight is necessity. They argue that Silva's complacency in recent outings proves he needs a tougher challenge, or that he should be forced in the division as a means of punishment for his recent sub-par performances. They say there are no big-money fights left in the wight class.White said neither of those is the right reason for a switch."I believe that when you make a move like that, for me, it's always all about legacy," White said. "It's never about money or any of that [expletive], so you have to clean out the division."And White believes Silva is two wins away from that mark. In the end, it's Silva's decision to make, but White makes clear what he'll be suggesting for his middleweight champ.Of course, there's one caveat."What he wants to do I think is keep his 185-pound title and fight at 205, which you can't do," White said. "You have to vacate that title and move up."