UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva and former UFC light heavyweight champ Mauricio "Shogun" Rua are former teammates, but there's no evidence they are close friends. In fact there have been rumors and whispers for years that Silva's departure from Brazil's legendary Chute Boxe fighting camp were acrimonious in the extreme.
He was vocal about his willingness to fight Rua's close friend and Chute Boxe mentor Wanderlei Silva when Wandy first joined the UFC's 185 class. Though Anderson later backtracked on that a bit, there's some reason to believe he would fight Rua.
More importantly, it would be a great fight. Here are a few reasons why:
- Shogun Is a Formidable Threat To Anderson
While Rua can't match Silva's artistry and creativity as a striker, his dominance of Lyoto Machida in their two fights show what he can do against MMA's elite range fighters. If he can hang with Silva at kick-boxing distance that would mean the fight would move to the clinch where both men are impossibly fearsome. Anderson might have the edge on the inside, but it's a coin toss.
- Shogun Could Easily Make Middleweight
Rua is not a particularly big light heavyweight. He doesn't cut any significant weight to make 205 and carries visible pudge into his fights. The discipline and training involved with cutting to make 185 would be good for Rua, who's struggled with his conditioning multiple times at light heavyweight. If Rua moves down to Silva's MW division, that removes the biggest roadblock to this fight.
- It Would Be Another Brazilian Mega-Fight
If the UFC is looking to return to Brazil, an event headlined by Anderson vs. Shogun would be a natural. The Brazilian media would have a great story to tell regarding the two fighters' shared history at Chute Boxe and Silva's falling out with that camp. Silva nearly abandoned his MMA career and it was only the support of the Nogueira brothers -- mainstays of Chute Boxe's biggest rival, the Brazilian Top Team -- that turned his career around. The language barrier has limited the American MMA media's ability to tell that story. The Brazilian press won't have that problem.
Anderson Silva has cleared out the UFC's middleweight division in his five year reign of terror. If he isn't willing to move back up to 205lbs, it's time to bring some talent down from that division to challenge him.