It looks like Big Nog was right after all. Anderson Silva will defend his UFC middleweight title against Yushin Okami in Brazil at UFC Rio (likely UFC 134). Dana White confirmed the news with USA Today earlier today.
So what does this mean for the elusive pound-for-pound super fight between Silva and UFC welterweight champ Georges St. Pierre? Well, as Dana also told USA Today’s Sergio Non today, it will happen if GSP beats Jake Shields and Silva beats Okami.
This Jake Shields fight is a much bigger fight for Georges St. Pierre than people realize. I know Georges St. Pierre knows it. A lot of people who exactly know what they’re talking about and know what they’re doing, know what a serious fight this Jake Shields fight is for him and how tough it really is.
There’s no doubt that in my book he’s the No. 2 pound-for-pound guy in the world. But it’s hard to knock Anderson Silva off that.
That’s why, if both these guys win their fights, we do the pound-for-pound fight.
With the way things have gone though, one has to wonder if by the time UFC Rio rolls around, will GSP (assuming he wins) have to defeat another welterweight contender before this can happen? And so on and so on?
Time will tell, but here’s another wrinkle to add to the story. I’m not sold that it will happen, but Big Nog also suggested recently that Anderson Silva could end up moving to 205 after the Okami fight. Of course, Silva himself recently stated that he’s happy at middleweight and doesn’t have any immediate plans to move up, so who knows.
There’s also a lot of buzz around a GSP vs. Nick Diaz title unification bout. I’d love to see it (more so than Silva-GSP), but Dana says he’s “not into interpromotional fights now.” Dana added that we’ll see UFC fighters in Strikeforce before we see Strikeforce fighters in the UFC, and you know they’re not going to send GSP to fight Nick Diaz in Strikeforce. Using Gilbert Melendez as an example, Dana says he can’t join the UFC till his Strikeforce contract is up, and in Melendez’s case, he just signed a multi-year contract extension back in February.
Getting back to UFC Rio, Royce Gracie, yes the same Royce Gracie that won the very first UFC tournament but got worked by Matt Hughes nearly five years ago, says he is close to finalizing a deal to close out his career in Rio de Janeiro. Considering he’s from Rio, it would make sense to end his career there (who knew it was still going?), but who exactly would he fight? I have no idea, and so far the UFC hasn’t commented. Wishful thinking on Royce’s part or is the UFC actually going to give him one more?
It’s also rumored that Takanori Gomi will meet Edson Barboza on the card.
“I don’t think it’s anything about switching gears,” Soares answered when asked why the UFC opted to go with Silva vs. Okami instead of Silva vs. GSP. “Whether GSP wins or loses or whatever happens to GSP, the show must go on. There’s what seven champions? They’ve got to stay busy. That’s the first thing.
“The second thing is GSP has mentioned that he’s going to have to put weight on. So even if he fought the end of April, it’s not like he’s going to be able to fight in at least six months, seven months; he’s going to have to put weight on.”
“I think that’s still a potential,” Soares told MMAWeekly Radio about the super fight. “That’s still a huge potential.”