The middleweight division has always been just considered “Anderson Silva’s playground.” He has had a firm grasp on the division since he made his UFC debut against Chris Leben at Ultimate Fight Night 5, June 28th 2006. Anderson has taken out everyone who has challenged him inside the octagon. Some people feel that there are no challengers left for Anderson. Here are a few fighters who could compete with the champion:
The winner of Luke Rockhold and Vitor Belfort: Luke Rockhold was the last Strikeforce middleweight champion. The fight could easily be promoted as a champion vs champion bout. Vitor has already competed against Anderson before, losing by a highlight real upkick to the chin at UFC 126. He’s looked phenomenal since then, only losing to Jon Jones in a short notice light heavyweight title bout. The winner of this match up should get a shot at Anderson Silva.
Cung Le: He’s currently on a two fight winning streak, recently knocking out Rich Franklin at UFC’s first event in China. He’s extremely marketable and has an awesome fan base. Cung Le has stated that he wants only big fights or an Ultimate Fighter coaching spot. He should compete in a title eliminator next and if victorious, could make for an interesting challenge for the champion.
Michael Bisping: We all know how Michael Bisping operates as a fighter. He can defeat all of the guys that we throw at him, but when it comes to making it up the hump to contender status he freezes up. He is one of the most polarizing figures in the UFC. You either love him or hate him. If he can finally defeat a credible top 5 middleweight, a title fight in England or Brazil would be huge for the UFC.
Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza: One of the premiere grapplers in the UFC middleweight division. Souza has all the necessary skills to become a top contender in the octagon. He has been winning his fights lately due to his much improved stand up. It is only a matter of time before we see him compete against the elite of the division and earn himself a shot at UFC middleweigh gold.
Costas Philippou: Costas is the least likely to get a title shot anytime soon, but you can’t deny his talents. He’s currently on a five fight winning streak and recently defeated super-tough Tim Boetsch at UFC 155. He was scheduled to compete against Ronaldo Souza at UFC on FX 8, but unfortunately he was injured. If he keeps competing and defeating contenders in the division, they will have no choice but to give him a title shot.
With Anderson recently signing a new 10 fight contract with the UFC, it looks like he has plenty of options at middleweight to continue his legacy.