Mixed martial arts (MMA) fans can add Jon Jones vs. Anderson Silva to the dogpile. And as fans of combat sports, I’m sure you’re unfortunately well-familiar withthe disappointment.
In the heap are other promising mega-matches, including Brock Lesnar vs. Fedor Emelianenko, Anderson Silva vs. Georges St. Pierre and Fedor Emelianenko vs. Randy Couture, among others. Boxing has made many contributions to the collection, most recently of which was the scuttled potential of a Floyd Mayweather Jr. vs. Manny Pacquiao bonanza. Lingering somewhere in his heap is Lennox Lewis vs. Riddick Bowe, a nice addition from nearly 20 years ago, serving as the benchmark for how to spoil a great meal.
Yep, sit on the pot for too long, and any potential “super” bout will be no more.
Everyone loses eventually (or, in extremely rare cases, retires). And that’s the reason Chris Weidman’s victory over Anderson Silva last night (Sat., July 6, 2013) at UFC 162 (watch highlights here) is a stark reminder that it’s best to serve these meals when ready. Unless you’re Vitor Belfort, who was the second-happiest guy in the world once Weidman scored the stunning knockout of the legendary Brazilian at MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.
That’s because since losing to Jones at UFC 152, Belfort has put together four impressive wins at Middleweight, sandwiched around a credible, late-notice fill-in against “Bones,” during which he gave one heck of an effort prior to being submitted.
You could also say that Silva’s loss scrapped the possibility of a “mega” bout with Georges St. Pierre, but to be honest, I think that’s only more likely now. I never believed St. Pierre wanted that fight, as his disinclination toward it was palpable whenever asked.
And that made sense at the time, as Silva’s size advantage and style posed serious problems for him.
After Saturday night, though, and Silva’s bizarre postfight interview where he said he wanted to keep fighting (just not for belts), who knows? But, even if it happens, it’s not the same stakes on the line. And unless Silva’s able to definitely beat Weidman in a rematch, there is little inclination for the public to see him get served up against a young monster like Jones.
To the credit of Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), it pushed as much as they could to get Silva into one of these bouts, and through a weird, three-way feedback loop of the fighters involved, it didn’t happen. St. Pierre clearly didn’t want to take on Silva, and was correct in doing so. There was no visible evidence that he’d be doing anything, but taking on a suicide mission.
Jones and Silva mutually expressed scant interest in what would’ve been the biggest fight in the history of MMA, and now its prospects are greatly diminished.
Life goes on, and the Middleweight division is fresh, churning and alive again. The next time a potential “super” fight this big comes around, hopefully the parties involved will remember what was lost last night and make it happen before it’s too late.
Jason Probst can be reached at www.twitter.com/jasonprobst
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