UFC president Dana White said he’s trying to book a rematch between Silva and Vitor Belfort (19-9 MMA, 8-5 UFC) – a fight “The Phenom” has verbally agreed to – but “The Axe Murderer” is holding out for a bout with Chris Leben (25-7 MMA, 11-6 UFC).
White admitted he’s a little shocked by Silva’s actions, especially considering he already turned down a UFC 130 fight with Brian Stann because he didn’t want to face a U.S. military hero.
“We asked him to take [a fight with Stann], and he turned it down,” White said. “He said, ‘I don’t like it because everybody likes this guy.’ That’s kind of a weird philosophy, but I’ll accept that. Wanderlei’s a warrior. He always goes out there. So we offered him the Vitor fight, and now he’s on Twitter lobbying to fight Chris Leben.”
This past week, Silva took to his official Twitter account and seemingly announced an official booking with “The Crippler.”
“I fight with Chris Leben,” Silva stated. “I think we’re going to give a great show for the fans.”
However, White said the UFC simply hasn’t offered the contest to either fighter,
“I don’t want him to fight Chris Leben,” White said. “I want him to fight Vitor Belfort.
“Vitor Belfort has accepted the fight, wants the fight, and now we’re fighting for Wanderlei to accept the fight.”
White said the matchup would take place in Las Vegas, likely at July’s as-yet-unofficial UFC 132 event, though it could happen as soon as May’s “UFC 130: Edgar vs. Maynard III.”
Belfort and Silva first tangled in October 1998. In one of the most famed highlights in UFC history, a then-21-year-old Belfort needed just 44 seconds to earn a TKO victory.
Silva has been inactive since a February 2010 victory over Michael Bisping. The Brazilian underwent knee surgery this past summer and has been recovering since.