The time is right for 'Shogun' vs. 'The Spider'
At the press conference following Mauricio Rua's sensational knock out victory over former UFC light heavyweight king Lyoto Machida, Rua was asked if he would fight former teammate and friend Anderson Silva.
One might have held their breath in anticipation of the answer, a response conditioned by a frustrating trend of prominent UFC fighters refusing to fight their teammates and friends.
Instead, "Shogun" simply replied, “Yes, of course. I’m a professional fighter."
I recently interviewed Johnny Bedford and Doug Frey at Fitness Fight Factory. Not just training partners and friends, they're like brothers.
They empathized with AKA members Josh Koscheck and Jon Fitch, who have managed to avoid fighting each other, much to UFC boss Dana White's annoyance. Bedford commented, "You put a UFC title on the line between Fitch and Josh Koscheck they might start fighting [each other], but just to fight for...a paycheck?"
Bedford then added that "it would take a lot of money" for him and Frey, both bantamweights, to fight each other.
Bellator is offering a lot of money to the winner of their bantamweight tournament in August. Bedford looked at Frey and said, "We'll meet in the finals, we'll fight and we'll be friends after that...Hell, we might even spar [with each other] to get ready." They both laughed.
Silva, quite possibly the best fighter alive, has been treating his challengers in the same way a spoiled brat scorns a pair of socks on Christmas. A second UFC championship, a win over a living legend of a fighter, and true pound-for-pound king status would be like a birthday, Christmas and the last day of school all in one night-- not only for him, but for the fans and the UFC.
As a kid, I invested a lot of time into coming up with the most epic battles I could think of, like Batman clashing with Wolverine or Bruce Lee brawling with Hulk Hogan.
Little has changed, but I know I'm not the only one who feels this way. I gaurantee that Dana White feels like a little kid sometimes over this MMA stuff. The difference is that as grown-ups, we now realize that while superheroes are timeless, real fighters peak and wane.
With all due respect to Vitor Belfort and the winner of Quinton Jackson vs. Rashad Evans, I'd rather see Batman vs. Wolverine.