The new UFC 153 main event of Anderson Silva vs. Stephan Bonnar may not be the fight MMA fans wanted or expected to headline the Oct. 13 event, however, whether people like it or not, it’s the match up that’s going to happen.
After Jose Aldo was forced to withdraw from his featherweight title bout verse Frankie Edgar due to a foot injury, the UFC was forced to start from scratch and look for a new fight that was suitable for the top billing of the event in Brazil, scheduled to take place at the HSBC Arena in Rio de Janiero.
After some scrambling, UFC president Dana White turned to Brazil’s largest superstar, UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva. While Silva fought just two months ago at UFC 148, the Num. 1 pound-for-pound fighter in the world had no hesitations about taking the fight on short notice, although he wasn’t able to make his typical weight of 205-pounds, forcing White to find an opponent at a weight class above.
“[When Aldo got injured] Silva called to say ‘Hey Boss, I’ll fight at 205 and save the show in Las Vegas on 8 days notice’ but it was a few hours too late.” White explained on a recent interview with Jim Rome. “So when this happened, I called him up and he stepped up and said ‘Absolutely, I’ll fight. I only have 3 weeks to make 185 and can’t do that right now. But I will fight at 205.’ And I thought, how can I find someone at 205 willing to fight him when we couldn’t find at 205 willing to fight Jon Jones on a month’s notice?”
Shortly after White’s conversation with Silva, he began searching for someone for “The Spider” to fight. Not long after, the UFC president received a surprising phone call from a fighter who was one half of perhaps the most significant fight in MMA history, “The Ultimate Fighter” season 1 runner-up Stephan Bonnar.
“I get a call from Stephan Bonnar and he is pumped,” White recalled. “He says that Silva is the perfect style for him and he wants this fight more than anything.”
White knows Silva-Bonnar isn’t exactly a logical match up when it comes to divisional rankings or overall relevance, but at a time when the organization had its back up against the wall and was in desperate need of a main event, two of the most notable names on the UFC roster saved the day.
“Does this fight make sense? Of course it doesn’t.
“But the bottom line is that Anderson and Bonnar stepped up.”
UFC 153: Silva vs. Bonnar goes down from the HSBC Arena in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil on Oct. 13.