Fresh off back-to-back underwhelming -- albeit winning performances -- UFC Middleweight Champion Anderson Silva will return to the 205-pound division in search of better competition against former light heavyweight champion Forrest Griffin at the Wachovia Center in Philadelphia, Pa., on August 8, according to Yahoo!Sports.com.
Griffin was previously booked to take on Thiago Silva in the co main event; however, UFC President Dana White made an executive decision to insert the "Spider" instead.
Here's his reasoning:
"Forrest loved the idea and said he’d do it right away, and Anderson told me he would fight anyone I wanted him to fight, no matter who it is. So we got the deal.... I talked to (a reporter) the day after (UFC 97) and that’s when I started working on this. At the end of the day, it’s my job to put on the kinds of fights that you in the media will like and that the fans will want to see. Silva and Griffin is the kind of fight that even other fighters are going to go crazy for. That’s what I do for a living. I as a fan didn’t like what I saw (at UFC 97) and I wasn’t kidding when I said I wanted to walk out of the building because of how embarrassed I am. But I can tell you this: I’m going to be counting the days until this fight."
Griffin -- the light heavyweight winner of the inaugural season of The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) -- was suspended by the Nevada State Athletic Commission (NSAC) until June 27, 2009, because of a broken left hand that he suffered in the second round of his fight against Rashad Evans at UFC 92 "The Ultimate 2008″ last December.
He apparently needed to have pins surgically inserted into the hand to expedite the healing process. The good news is that he has already been cleared to resume punching and training full-time to be prepared for a healthy return in August.
The bad news? He now has to do it against the feared Brazilian striker who more than likely won't be in a good mood when he steps inside the Octagon on fight night.
Indeed, Silva will likely feel the need to prove himself worthy of being considered the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world when he arrives in the "City of Brotherly Love." Apparently, a record-setting nine straight UFC wins -- seven of which were all stoppages that never went longer than two rounds -- is not good enough these days.
That's because Silva has baffled his fans, as well as White, in his two most recent outings. He earned a bizarre third round technical knockout win over Patrick Cote after the Canadian's knee imploded and then followed that up with a boring unanimous decision win over Thales Leites at UFC 97: "Redemption" earlier this month.
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