Thanks in large part to a five fight win streak in the UFC, Brazilian middleweight Thales Leites could be on the verge of being named the next man to challenge Anderson Silva for the UFC middleweight title.
UFC President Dana White revealed the news Tuesday afternoon during a public Q&A session at the Sports USA Bar located on the Fort Bragg military installation.
When asked by a fan in the audience what was next in store for Leites, White indicated that his next fight could come against Silva as early as February. UFC Vice President of Talent Relations Joe Silva was seated in the audience and conferred while adding that a Silva vs. Leites match has not been finalized and that Leites is instead at the top of a list that includes several candidates.
Leites has gone undefeated since losing his UFC debut to Martin Kampmann in November of 2006 during the live finale for the fourth season of “The Ultimate Fighter.” The Nova Uniao fighter is 14-1 overall in his pro MMA career with notable victories over Gustavo Machado, Jose “Pele” Landi-Jons, Pete Sell, and Nathan Marquardt.
The 27-year old’s most recent victory took place in October at UFC 90, where he submitted Drew McFedries with a rear naked choke at 1:18 of round 1.
Silva also competed on the same card, where he successfully defended his title against Patrick Cote after Cote’s knee buckled at 0:39 of round three, forcing referee Herb Dean to declare Silva winner via TKO due to injury. The win over Cote improved Silva’s lifetime record inside of the Octagon to 8-0 and his overall record to 23-4.