Anderson Silva camp would 'love' Michael Bisping next, but doesn't think he will defeat Vitor Belfort at UFC on FX 7

Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC

With a "super fight" all but ruled out in the near future, UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva's camp has its sights set on British sensation Michael Bisping for potential 185-pound title defense, according to a report on Tuesday's edition of UFC Tonight on FUEL TV. While Silva's camp was saying Silva would "love" the idea of a bout with Bisping, it doesn't think "The Count" has a good shot at defeating Vitor Belfort in his next outing at UFC on FX 7.

With a bout against Georges St. Pierre seemingly on the shelf for the time being, Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) middleweight champion Anderson Silva is beginning to explore other options.

Silva was expected to face off with St. Pierre sometime in 2013 before UFC President Dana White announced last week that "Rush" requested to remain at welterweight for his next bout and take on Nick Diaz.

Since St. Pierre will likely remain in his weight class in the near future and defend his 170-pound belt, it appears "The Spider" will now do the same. According to manager Jorge Guimaraes, the Brazilian is eyeing Michael Bisping, who faces off against Vitor Belfort in the main event of UFC on FX 7 on Jan. 19, 2013.

"[Silva's] manager doesn't think the GSP super fight will happen right now, but they'd love for it to happen at some point. I brought up the possibility of fighting Michael Bisping if he wins against Vitor Belfort," said FUEL TV correspondent Ariel Helwani on Tuesday's edition of UFC Tonight. "And Jorge told me they'd love that fight, but he said he didn't think Bisping has a good shot against Vitor Belfort. So they think Anderson will be back fighting in the summertime, but they're not sure who he will fight then."

"The Count" has campaigned for a title shot for a long time now, but has never been able to secure his place as the No. 1 contender inside the cage. A win over Belfort would strongly benefit Bisping's case for a title shot, however, it seems Silva doesn't have much confidence in the Brit to get by his countryman.

Bisping would be a significant underdog in a fight against Silva, but that doesn't mean much as no fighter at 185-pounds would be favored over the champion. The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) season 3 winner doesn't care about odds, though, he just wants to test himself against the best in the world.

"I want to fight the guy because I want to see how I can do against him," Bisping said of a fight with Silva in an interview with FUEL TV last July. "I've beaten a lot of guys, but I want to fight that guy. I want to see -- I think I can do better. And I'm never going to know that until I get in there with him. Yes, I want to fight him. Yes, I want to get paid for a title shot, I want the main event, I want all that. But for me personally, for my mind and soul, I want to fight the guy to know how I would do."

A fight between Silva and Bisping may not be viewed as the most competitive title fight in UFC history, but that's not always what's most important. Both men are proven draws and the match up could sell tickets, especially if it were take place in England or Brazil.

And its a showdown that UFC President Dana White has referred to as "interesting."

Should Bisping fail to get by Belfort in January, a showdown the "The Count" lobbied to turn into an interim title match if "The Spider" accepted fights outside the division, Silva would be looking at other match ups. He already defeated Belfort in decisive fashion, and while the rematch would do well if it took place in Brazil, it's doubtful the masses want to see the fight again.

Beyond Bisping and Belfort, fresh contenders such as Chris Weidman, Tim Boetsch, Alan Belcher and Hector Lombard wait in the wings.

There's no telling for certain what the future has in store for MMA's pound-for-pound king, but for now it's looks like every will wait until Bisping and Belfort do battle at UFC on FX 7.

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