(Ring girls: Who needs ‘em?)
Here’s the second half of CagePotato’s head-to-head bitchfest on “Ill Will,” brought to you by the two similarly-named editors of this site. If you missed part one, click here.
QUESTION: What does Wanderlei Silva’s future hold?
Fowlkes: Keith Jardine will beat Wanderlei Silva at UFC 84, and when he does it’s going to create some difficult questions for “The Axe Murderer.” Dana White says that he loves Silva. You can see why he would. But as great as he is in terms of showmanship, aggression, and “gameness” (as the Brazilians say), Silva’s best days may be behind him, as is evidenced by his lack of significant wins in recent years.
He’s just taken too many beatings and slowed down too much for his style to be effective any more. He’s got to evolve or get out the game. The question for the UFC is, do they bet on a Silva renaissance or try to convince him to drop to middleweight and start anew?
If Jardine really thumps him, the UFC has to go with door number two. If he has a strong showing, they might try putting him against someone like Matt Hamill or Sokoudjou and figure either way someone gets a bump. Regardless, anything less than a win on Saturday means Silva’s UFC career begins to slip away, even if it might take another fight or two before it completely disappears.
Goldstein: I’m also expecting Jardine to win tomorrow, but not because Silva’s game hasn’t evolved or because his physical condition is on the decline. It’s simply because the rule sets and environments of the UFC and Silva’s old home in PRIDE are so different that they’re barely the same sport. Until Silva can prove that he can work effectively in the Octagon, I’m not betting on him. But I think he can get used to the new terrain in time, and once he does, he’ll have some more thrilling fights left in him.
Losing to Cro Cop, Henderson, and Liddell doesn’t mean that your career is over — it’s the kind of setback that can befall any fighter who continuously fights top competition. Dana White knows that too. Still, Wandy will probably be ordered to drop to 185 if he loses to Jardine. There aren’t a ton of big-money matchups for Silva as a middleweight, but if he can score wins against guys like Rich Franklin, Yushin Okami, and Michael Bisping, he’ll certainly be invited back up to 205 to rematch Chuck Liddell or take on Rampage for the first time in the UFC. Dana White has to be taking the long view on the Wanderlei Silva situation, especially when there are so many other rival leagues that would step over their own mothers to pick him up.