LAS VEGAS -- What’s supposed to be a difficult fight for Anderson Silva on Saturday night makes the
Silva is 38 and is just three title fights removed from his perilous final-round survival against Chael Sonnen in 2010.
Saturday night, MGM Resorts listed Silva (33-4) as less than a 3-1 favorite to defeat skilled wrestler Chris Weidman, 29, at MGM Grand Garden Arena.
Still, the UFC opted last month to secure Silva with a 10-fight contract that far exceeds their standard six-fight deal.
Undoubtedly, Silva is a mixed martial arts master who has thrilled over the years by winning fights in a variety of ways, including the rally over Sonnen, the kick to Vitor Belfort's face as well as various spinning blows and sudden bursts of brilliant violence.
But 10 fights? For a 38-year-old?
Sports executives sometimes get too caught up in the moment of an athlete performing near his peak. Would Angels owner Arte Moreno, for instance, still give
Silva manager Ed Soares said Saturday Silva can opt in defeat to retire at any time during the deal.
Why would he? Saturday, for example, the champion's massive drawing power was underlined by the Nevada State Athletic Commission's report of guaranteed money for the main event.
Silva earns $600,000, plus $200,000 more if he wins. Weidman gets $24,000 and another $24,000 should he pull the upset.
The UFC has given Silva a lucrative deal, but it undeniably wants something rich back in exchange: a Silva super-fight against either light-heavyweight champion Jon Jones or welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre.
Soares echoed the Friday comments of UFC President Dana White that it doesn't appear St-Pierre is interested in a catch-weight fight.
That leaves a potential bout against Jones in early 2014, should Silva win Saturday and Jones defeat Alexander Gustafsson in September.
Soares would not reject that idea Saturday as he's done in the past. He also said Silva still wants to participate in a boxing match against former light-heavyweight champion Roy Jones Jr.
That would be a likely exhibition.
Soares was asked if that was part of the new deal.
"No," he said. "But everything's negotiable."