A few weeks ago we witnessed Anderson Silva destroy Stephan Bonnar in what Silva says was the last time he’d ever fight as a light heavyweight. The natural reaction of the public was that Anderson Silva doesn’t want to face Jon Jones. I don’t think Silva is afraid of Jones per se, but I do believe that Silva would be at a huge disadvantage as a middleweight going up against a fighter who many believe ought to be fighting as a heavyweight.
Silva has since expressed more willingness to face Jon Jones under the right terms. Needless to say, a match between Anderson Silva and Jon Jones would be the MMA equivalent of Manny Pacquiao vs Floyd Mayweather Jr. It’s probably also just as unlikely to happen, but like boxing fans, MMA fans have every right to dream.
Silva is without a doubt near the end of his career and we’d be lucky if we got to see him in the octagon 3 more times before he finally calls it a day. Below are the top 5 fighters Anderson Silva ought to face before he leaves the sport for good.
- Jon Jones– A super-sized light heavyweight who is every bit Anderson Silva’s equal in terms of natural talent, intelligence and athleticism. He’s able to impose his fight plan on every opponent he has ever faced and has proven to be just as dominant in his weight class as Silva is in his. Silva picks him apart in a stand up fight but Jones’s size, superior wrestling and brutal ground work might prove too much for Silva should the fight go to the mat.
- Georges St-Pierre– This is the second biggest marquee fight in MMA next to Silva-Jones. However expect this to be a mismatch in Silva’s favor. GSP’s biggest weapon is his physical strength. He is freakishly strong for a welterweight but Silva’s natural size advantage will negate GSP’s strength. Silva will punish GSP on the standup and should GSP manage to take him down, Silva would have no problem neutralizing GSP’s ground and pound.
- Lyoto Machida– Silva and Machida have both publicly stated that they will not fight each other, citing their friendship and the fact that they’ve trained together. Still, a match between the two would be a spectacular striking chess match that could play out like a real-life kung fu fight. Anything can happen in this fight but Lyoto will have the edge in punching power.
- Wanderlei Silva– “The Axe Murderer” has seldom looked better than average since his transition to the UFC partly due to the rules that do not allow knees to the head of a grounded opponent and partly due to the step up in competition. Regardless, Silva is a live underdog against anyone due to his whirlwind offense and dogged determination. This is a fight that should have happened 10 years ago but a match between the two Silvas today still carries plenty of intrigue.
- Mark Munoz– The only interesting middleweight left that Silva has not conquered. Silva’s Kryptonite has been fighters with a wrestling pedigree and Mark Munoz is a top notch wrestler with improved stand up and horrifying ground and pound. Unlike Chael Sonnen’s irritating but ineffective ground striking, Munoz is capable of doing real damage. Should he manage to take Silva down, things can get very interesting real fast.
There you have it. Be sure to check out the video above, featuring a computerized simulation of Anderson Silva vs Jon Jones!