'Spider' renews heavyweight hopes

Anderson SilvaMarcelo Alonso/Sherdog.com

Anderson Silva has all but exhausted the remaining competition at 185 pounds.

Anderson Silva's greatest opponent remains indifference: The longtime middleweight champion told assorted media this week that he plans to seek out challenges one or two divisions above his lanky 185-pound frame in the future.

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"Heavyweight is definitely something I have in mind," he said. "It's in my plans. I've been adapting my training, and [I'm] ever-changing to take on that challenge."

The difference between Silva, who is proactive in testing his abilities, and someone like Tito Ortiz, who refused to fight even a weary Ken Shamrock an ounce above 205 pounds, is remarkable, and we should be appreciative that Silva isn't so protective of his legacy that he's content to pick off stray contenders in his natural weight class. But the UFC already punctured Silva's desire to fight Frank Mir several months ago; Lyoto Machida's desire to face Brock Lesnar at some point is also likely to be scuttled.

It's smart business, but it's also too bad. Because of its talent monopoly, the UFC has a legitimate opportunity to create a linear pound-for-pound great of this era. Georges St. Pierre could fight Silva; Silva could compete at 205 pounds or above; Fedor Emelianenko, if signed, is not so massive that a fight with Silva would be unreasonable. There would be concerns of sacrificing reputable champions in each division, but both St. Pierre and Silva have nearly exhausted their potential. No one in this sport has a perfect record for long, so why not take a loss in the service of something special?