Cung Le v Patrick Cote - UFC 148UFC middleweight champ Anderson Silva saw a future fight with Michael Bisping fly out the window last weekend when Vitor Belfort finished “The Count” in the second round of their scrap. With a clear cut contender no longer in place, Silva’s camp is now exploring a number of options involving competitors they see as possessing both skill and star-power. Unfortunately, that group still doesn’t seem to include unbeaten 185er Chris Weidman who has been frothing at the bit for a crack at Silva’s belt for the past few months.

Interestingly enough, though neither has Weidman’s success in the Octagon or shown vast superiority, it appears two names Silva’s people are looking at right now are Luke Rockhold and Cung Le. Rockhold was the last man to lay claim to Strikeforce’s middleweight title, while Le held it in the past and is coming off a brutal knockout of Rich Franklin.

“Unfortunately Bisping lost which was a big thing but, you know, I’m not too sure. I’m not too sure who could be next, I mean there’s a few names out there but nothing really stable. There’s been a few guys who – you know we want to fight someone who has a little bit of a name, someone that has as big of a name as possible and that’s on a winning record or a winning run right now,” explained manager Ed Soares in a conversation with Cage Fanatic. “Right now it seems like most of the guys with names have had losses very recently. When I think about it, like the only thing that comes to mind and I don’t even know if that would be a possible fight is, you know, like Cung Le is coming off of three wins or something like that where he’s got a little bit of a name, but I mean it’s really hard in that division because it’s so evenly matched all the opponents on any given day one of those guys can beat each other, so you know, once again whoever the UFC decides, we’re in.”

“Luke Rockhold could be a great potential opponent…and I think Chris Weidman, not to take away anything from who he is as a fighter – I think he’s a phenomenal fighter – but I would like to see Anderson fight someone who is a little more recognized. I don’t think Anderson has anything to gain rather than beating a super-tough, unknown guy,” continued Soares. “Maybe Weidman is a fight or two away.”

The 9-0 Weidman has been out of action since July due to injury. Le is also on the shelf healing up from a few issues. Meanwhile, Rockhold is healthy but is expected to take on Belfort in a few months where he could claim contendership rights with a victory.