Anderson Silva Will Fight Nick Diaz at UFC 183
After all the speculation, UFC President Dana White has finally confirmed that Anderson Silva will return to action against Nick Diaz.
White made the official announcement via ESPN’s Sportscenter on Tuesday. The five round bout will be fought at the 185 pound limit and will headline the UFC 183 PPV event on January 31, 2015 in Las Vegas. Silva has been out of action since UFC 168 last December 2013 when he broke his left tibia and fibula bones during his rematch with Chris Weidman.
White said that they had been “contemplating” the bout for some time now, and with the recent signing of Nick Diaz, the only problem left was Anderson Silva’s health. But the former UFC middleweight champion has finally secured a medical clearance to fight again, thus paving way for his much anticipated UFC return.
The bout will mark not only the return of Silva, who is considered by many as “The Greatest of All-Time”, but of Diaz too who will be making his first octagon appearance since March 2013 when he lost in a title challenge against former UFC welterweight champion Georges St. Pierre. Diaz immediately retired after the bout, citing contract disputes. However, he has since settled his differences with the UFC and re-signed a three fight contract extension last week in Las Vegas.
The Stockton, California native has fought in the 170 pound weight limit his entire career. The heaviest he fought was at a catch weight of 180 pounds when he faced Scott Smith in 2009. On the other hand, Silva was the UFC’s longest reigning middleweight champion before being dethroned by Chris Weidman at UFC 162 last July 2013.
A lot of people were already anticipating this fight last week when Diaz announced his return to the UFC. When Nick Diaz was in hiatus, he often told the media that only a big fight or a title fight would lure him back to the UFC. A fight with Anderson Silva definitely fits that bill. UFC President Dana White also hinted a possible title shot for Diaz should he upset Anderson Silva.
Although Nick’s UFC record is just 1-2, the former Strikeforce welterweight champion remains one of the most popular fighters in MMA. His last UFC bout against St. Pierre netted over 1M PPV buys. Silva, for his part, was one of the UFC’s top PPV draws during his six year title reign that included 10 successful title defenses.
The UFC desperately needed to make a fight of this magnitude after the decline of its PPV numbers in 2014 mainly due to the departure of St. Pierre and the injury to Silva. No UFC event in the first half of 2014 has reached the 500K PPV mark. UFC 175, which was held earlier this month, is expected to top the 500K mark although it is not expected to go near 1M PPV buys.
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