It's currently like a good game of Clue trying to figure out what Anderson Silva‘s next move will be in the UFC.
No, Colonel Mustard won't be attacking the champ with a lead pipe, but it seems each week a new piece of the puzzle is unveiled as Silva's return to action draws closer and closer.
The UFC's reigning and defending middleweight king is in the midst of a contract negotiation that will likely see him sign on for a new 10-fight deal. His first match-up under that deal is rumored for Spring 2013.
Now a few more clues have slipped out regarding who he may face when he returns. UFC president Dana White confirmed that despite there being no definitive top contender at 185 pounds that is currently healthy and on a winning streak, Silva's next fight will be his 11th as UFC middleweight champion.
“We're waiting on something. We want to see if this thing pans out, and when we're ready to announce it, we'll announce it,” White said while speaking to the media following the conclusion of UFC on Fox 6. “He'll defend his title; it won't be a superfight.”
That answer begs the question: who could Silva possibly face at 185 pounds right now that's not already tied up or not injured?
Michael Bisping recently lost in his latest bid to earn a crack at the middleweight strap, as did both Tim Boetsch and Alan Belcher. Former Bellator champ Hector Lombard is tied up in early March in a fight against Yushin Okami, while former Strikeforce middleweight king Luke Rockhold will likely face Vitor Belfort in his Octagon debut.
Silva's camp has tossed around the idea of facing former Strikeforce champ Cung Le, but White chalks that and a lot of the fights mentioned by the champion's camp as random, odd match-ups that rarely ever see the light of day.
“This is typical Anderson Silva/Ed Soares craziness. Every (expletive) time there's a fight, it's he wants to fight (Demetrious) ‘Mighty Mouse' Johnson, and then he wants to fight (expletive) this guy and that guy. It's always the same deal that happens,” said White.
“I absolutely will not fight Chael Sonnen, he doesn't deserve the title, and I'm not doing this, and I'm not doing that. This is what we do.”
The biggest contender in the division could very well be undefeated top five middleweight Chris Weidman. He's gunning for a shot at Silva, and has been for most of the past year, but unfortunately he's still on the sidelines nursing a bum shoulder after having surgery to close out 2012.
Weidman and his manager met with White over the weekend and made their intentions clear.
“Weidman and his manager sat down and said, ‘We want Anderson Silva; we want to fight him. I'm going to beat him. I'm going to be the next world champion,' and I said okay, we'll call you in a few weeks and get this thing figured out,” White stated.
Now the waiting game begins until the next clue on who Anderson Silva will face is revealed. Will he finally give Chris Weidman his shot? Or is there a dark horse contender that the world isn't looking at currently?