After making his light heavyweight debut against James Irvin at next week's UFC Fight Night 14 event, UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva (21-4 MMA, 6-0 UFC) will return to 185 pounds to defend his title against top contender Yushin Okami (22-4 MMA, 6-1 UFC).
Ed Soares, Silva's manager, confirmed the plans while a guest on today's edition of TAGG Radio (taggradio.com), the official radio partner of MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com).
However, Soares said that a date for the Silva-Okami fight won't be determined until after the July 19 fight with Irvin.
Silva and Soares want to have a better idea of the fighter's health status before committing to a date for the fight with Okami. (However, sources close to the event tell TAGG Radio and MMAjunkie.com that the UFC has tentatively targeted UFC 88, which takes place Sept. 6 in Atlanta, for the fight.)
Silva, who's 6-0 in the UFC (with six stoppages), has made short work of the UFC's middleweight division, posting three consecutive title defenses (and a victory over Travis Lutter in a non-title affair) after defeating former champ Rich Franklin for the title in October 2006.
When the UFC needed a headliner for UFC Fight Night 14 to counter Affliction's debut show (a star-studded affair that also takes place July 19), Silva agreed to take it. The UFC and Spike TV have since launched a marketing campaign that lets fans know they can watch "the world's best fighter" on free basic cable. "Banned," meanwhile, comes with a $39.95 pay-per-view fee.
However, Soares, who also manages top UFC light heavyweight contender Lyoto Machida, said that Silva doesn't expect to make a run at the 205-pound title, and instead, will only move up when it satisfies their goal of "being involved in some of the biggest fights in UFC history."
"[Silva] doesn't want to make a run at the (light-heavyweight) championship because his friend Lyoto is in the line for it," Soares said. "He doesn't want to fight Lyoto, and Lyoto doesn't want to fight him."
Despite his perfect 13-0 overall record and 5-0 mark in the UFC, Machida likely won't get the first crack at new UFC light heavyweight champion Forrest Griffin, who won the title this past weekend at UFC 86. Soares said that Machida will likely have "one more fight" before he gets a shot at the belt. (Soares said Machida's fight will take place in October, an opponent has been determined, but it hasn't yet been signed.)
As for Silva, Soares repeatedly stressed that he wants his fights to be "events."
"We'll take it one step at a time," Soares said. "But what he's looking forward to fighting the best in the world and creating events. At this point in his career, he wants every fight to be an event."
The 205-pound division could provide that with superstars such as Chuck Liddell, Quinton Jackson and Griffin providing interesting and marketable fights with Silva.
However, Soares said the middleweight division will remain Silva's focus.
"As the (middleweight) contenders come up, he's still going to defend the belt," Soares said.
Soares also gave updates on clients Paulo Filho and Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira during today's segment. To hear the full interview, download today's edition of TAGG Radio, available for free in the TAGG Radio archives.
Posted by CantAndleDaRiddum
Posted by RNC
Did Cote get hurt?
Cote vs Almedia was supposed to be for Silva, what happened? Silva vs Okami is great, don't get me wrong, but I don't like the UFC advertising fights as one thing then not following through.