UFC President Dana White today revealed the bout will enjoy a headlining role for what is expected to serve as UFC 183. A specific venue for the card has yet to be announced
“The fight that the fans have been waiting for, the fight that the fans have been screaming for … we have made Anderson Silva vs. Nick Diaz, Jan. 31 in Las Vegas,” White said today on ESPN’s “SportsCenter.” “It will be the main event, and it will be five rounds.”
White informed MMAjunkie the contest will take place at 185 pounds.
Silva fights for the first time since this past December’s UFC 168, where “The Spider” suffered a horrific leg break that looked as if it could potentially end his incredible career. Instead, the 39-year-old has been steadfastly focused on a return to the cage, and White said doctors recently cleared him to return to action.
“Anderson Silva feels great,” White said. “It will be a 13-month layoff. … He’s 100 percent healthy. He’s kicking. He feels great, and he’s chomping at the bit to get back in the octagon. He’s very excited for this fight.”
Before a pair of bizarre 2013 losses to Chris Weidman, Silva reigned over the UFC middleweight division for nearly seven years and was widely considered the greatest pound-for-pound fighter on the planet.
Meanwhile, Diaz fights for the first time since March 2013. The fiery fan-favorite has been on hiatus since that time, enjoying a semi-retirement while considering his future options. The veteran brawler recently signed a new contract with the UFC, and White said a victory at UFC 183 could potentially see him involved in a future title shot.
“If (Diaz) comes in and beats Anderson Silva, absolutely, he could fight for the title,” White said. “He’s right in there. It would be a huge, huge win for him.”
Diaz is a former Strikeforce welterweight champion who is best known for his penchant for trash talk and flipping middle fingers mid-fight, not to mention his habit of putting on crowd-pleasing scraps. The 30-year-old boasts world-class jiu-jitsu but typically prefers to focus on his volume-based striking while gunning for a crowd-pleasing contest.