Anderson Silva is back. After consecutive losses and the gruesome injury he suffered in Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) 168 main event fight against Chris Weidman in December, the former middleweight champion will return to the octagon ring on Jan. 31. The Brazilian mixed martial artist will headline the main event of UFC 183 in a 185-pound bout against returning UFC fighter Nick Diaz.
During a televised phone interview with ESPN, UFC president Dana White announced that Silva has already been given clearance to fight by his doctors. White also made the announcement that Diaz will also be returning to fight in the cage.
Evidently, both Silva and Diaz came from two consecutive losses. Silva fought twice in 2013 and lost both fights against Weidman, while Diaz also suffered consecutive losses against Carlos Condit and Georges St. Pierre in 2012 and 2013, respectively. Since Diaz's loss, he announced his retirement from the sport and has not fought since. Silva, on the other hand, will have a total of 13 months to fully condition his body for his thrilling UFC return.
According to White, the fight was just finalised a few minutes before he made the revelation on national TV. He said that Silva was pretty happy about the fight deal. "We just have lunch and literally made this fight five minutes ago, and Anderson Silva feels great," said White. The UFC president also added that Silva is "100% healthy and kicking again." White said that Silva is happy and motivated to return in the UFC.
Fans and sports personalities have been going crazy on Twitter since the news broke. See some of their reactions below.
— Robby Nienaber (@BIG_scrob) August 1, 2014
Nick Diaz vs. Anderson Silva would be way better at a catchweight of 180lbs. I'm actually really frustrated it isn't.
— Alan/AECK (@Audax819) August 1, 2014
Problem with announcing Nick Diaz vs. Silva on SportsCenter in July? Fight is so far away it's not even possible to mark it on a calendar
— Jonathan Snowden (@mmaencyclopedia) July 29, 2014
Nick Diaz proves to be a man of his word. Since UFC 158, he said: a) he's only coming back vs. GSP or Silva and b) if he gets a new deal.
— Ariel Helwani (@arielhelwani) July 29, 2014
Nick Diaz vs Anderson Silva! Ladies and gentlemen, we have a MEGA FIGHT! #UFC
— David Loiseau (@DavidLoiseau) July 30, 2014
Anderson Silva vs Nick Diaz end of January!!! I'd pay today and everyday to see that fight!!! Can't wait
— Jay Glazer (@JayGlazer) July 29, 2014
Silva is 33-6 in his career, while Diaz is 26-9(1). The fight between the two may not be a championship match but it is anticipated to become one of the most-watched UFC event because fans of the sport will be looking forward to witness Silva fight again after a long hiatus.
Silva's manager, Ed Soares, reportedly played a role in making the fight between Silva and Diaz happen. Soares thought "it makes sense" that the two fighters clash. Soares initially voiced the idea to UFC chief executive officer Lorenzo Fertitta and it became a reality as planned.