UFC president says Anderson Silva would likely headline
In the newspaper and political worlds, it would be termed a “non-denial denial.” But the way Dana White smirked, it may as well have been an official UFC press release.
Though far from official, it looks like the UFC will hit Brazil for the third time in less than a year with a trip to Sao Paulo in June. White, the UFC president, stopped well short of confirming a report in Brazilian media that the promotion will visit South America’s largest city – with his words, anyway. But his tone and the sly glimmer in his eye while responding Saturday to a question at the UFC 139 post-fight press conference in San Jose, Calif., told a different story – and revealed the event’s likely headliner, as well.
“How does this stuff get out? It’s crazy,” White said. “I don’t know. Might be. What happens is, you guys get all this sneaky information and then I say stuff at the press conference and my whole crew goes, ‘What are you doing?!? We didn’t say anything yet!’ I don’t know. I don’t know if we’re going to Sao Paulo in June and if Anderson Silva is headlining the card. I have no clue. That would be awesome, though.”
White confirmed at the press conference he believes Silva, the UFC’s middleweight champion, will be on the shelf until June after surgery. He defended his title a record ninth consecutive time with a second-round TKO of Yushin Okami in August in Rio de Janeiro, which was the UFC’s first trip to Brazil since October 1998 in Sao Paulo.
Silva is expected to defend his title against the man who came closest to taking it from him, Chael Sonnen. Sonnen was submitted by Silva in the fifth round of their UFC 117 title fight after dominating him for four and a half rounds. In his return in October, Sonnen dominated Brian Stann to get the likely next shot at the champ. But White also hinted Saturday at Sonnen taking a fight while waiting for Silva to heal. And that fight may come in the form of Mark Munoz, possibly as the headlining fight for UFC on Fox 2 on Jan. 28 in Chicago.