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By: Jamie Penick, MMATorch Editor-in-Chief
Chris Weidman is becoming an increasingly likely candidate to face Anderson Silva next for the UFC Middleweight Championship, but Silva's camp reportedly has entirely different ideas for who he should face next.
Speaking on the situation on Tuesday night's edition of "UFC Tonight" on Fuel TV, reporter Ariel Helwani discussed what one of Silva's managers had in mind.
"I'm not sure we will know the answer to this question for a long time," Helwani said on who would be the next challenger in the division. "Some people where saying Hector Lombard but, I spoke to one of his managers recently and he said that he thinks Lombard needs some more impressive wins to make that fight, since most people in the UFC don't really know who he is. [Silva] doesn't see those matchups (Lombard and Weidman) as being money making fights. Luke Rockhold was also mentioned, but he is tied to Strikeforce. So, that is not happening."
Of, course, word that Silva wanted to face Rockhold quickly reached the Strikeforce Middleweight Champion, who on Twitter accepted the challenge. Showtime executive Stephen Espinoza even said this week on The MMA Hour with Helwani that he'd like to see UFC Champ vs. Strikeforce Champ super fights; however, regardless of those desires, Rockhold isn't likely to be the name picked for that fight.
Penick's Analysis: Given who he had to fight the last time around, Silva's opinion on the matter may not matter, and given that this isn't straight out of his mouth he may be more inclined to take a fight against one of the other options. Rockhold would love to have the opportunity to fight Silva, but those Strikeforce-UFC matchups are only going to happen when Strikeforce fighters are brought into the UFC. And from the looks of it, so long as Showtime has Strikeforce, those fights simply will not happen. The likeliest scenario right now is Silva fighting Weidman, with another challenger being sorted out by the end of the year.
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Jamie Penick, editor-in-chief
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