Depending on the outcome of his upcoming disciplinary hearing with Nevada State Athletic Commission (NSAC), former Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) middleweight kingpin Anderson Silva may not be able to return to the Octagon until 2016.
But that's okay, according to "The Spider," because that was his plan anyway.
Silva (34-6) fought for the first time in over a year, thanks to a devastating leg injury, when he outpointed Nick Diaz at UFC 183 back in January. Unfortunately, he flunked his pre- and post-fight drug tests, and will now have to prove to the commission that he was not at fault.
From his recent media appearance in Brazil (via MMA Fighting):
"I will be back next year. We don't know yet what's going to happen because all the stuff I used during the treatment for my broken leg and my supplements were taken to the commission's lab to be examined so we can find out what happened. I don't know what happened. It was a surprise for me as well. Coming back next year was my plan anyway, so it's normal. The only serious injury I had was on my leg now. I spoke with my team, we discussed everything and saw that it was possible. We're training now focused on fighting for five more years. I already have my schedule for the next five years. If we can fight more, two or three times a year, it's better. First of all, I have to earn [a title shot]. The fighters who are up there earned that spot, to fight for the UFC title, and I have to conquer my space in the division again. Step by step, starting from zero. I don't know if I will have enough time for that, but if I have the opportunity to earn it, it's possible."
Silva turns 40 in less than a month.
If he did earn another title shot, there's a good chance he could rematch either Chris Weidman or Vitor Belfort, who slug it out for the 185-pound crown over Memorial Day Weekend (more on that here). Then again, the winner of that bout is expected to face the winner of Luke Rockhold vs. Lyoto Machida.
So ... who do you expect to hold the belt by the end of 2015?