Legendary former UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva has been out of action since suffering a devastating broken leg in his UFC 168 rematch with champion Chris Weidman.

“The Spider” has since undergone an intense regimen of recovery and was been cleared to fight, signing on to face fellow returnee Nick Diaz in the main event of January 31, 2015’s UFC 183. Silva believes that this battle of top-notch strikers could be one of the finest MMA bouts to ever take place.

And not surprisingly, UFC President Dana White agrees. He recently teased that the winner could be in line for a title shot, but Silva has repeatedly stated that his days of fighting for the middleweight title are most likely over. “The Spider” reiterated that when he admitted that the hardest thing about his recovery is throwing full force kicks like he used to.

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Yet we’ve also seen Silva say one thing and do another, almost to the point where’s it beyond difficult to believe what he says. Today, he’s thrown us another curveball in an interview with Brazilian media site Veja. Having supposedly changed his mind, the all-time great now wants to fight for the 185-pound belt again:

“Look, besides returning well in 2015, my project in the UFC is only one: I won’t stop (fighting) until I get my title back. I want to at least try.”

Interesting, because “The Spider’s” words are a stark contrast to what we’ve heard from him before. But even if his desire to fight for the belt is still there, the middleweight division has gotten exponentially tougher in the 38-year-old’s absence.

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With some great fights scheduled, there’s also a lot of sorting out to be done in the division. Undefeated champion Weidman will take on Vitor Belfort in February, the surging Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza just submitted Gegard Mousasi, No. 6 Tim Kennedy will take on Yoel Romero at UFC 178 tonight, and No. 5 Luke Rockhold will meet No. 7 Michael Bisping in November.

It’s a very exciting time for the talent-laden middleweight division, and nothing could shake it up more than a return of a re-motivated and dangerous “Spider.” He may not be in his prime, but he’s still one of the most dangerous fighters on the planet. Do you believe him when he claims that he now wants to regain the belt?

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Photo: Jayne Kamin-Oncea for USA TODAY Sports