The Greatness of Anderson Silva
by James Walker
There is not much buzz outside of Brazil surrounding the UFC 153 main event between Anderson Silva and Stephan Bonnar. On paper, this is a huge mismatch involving a dominant champion versus a fighter who’s been inactive for nearly a year.
But a stand-in main event like this is the perfect time for a public service announcement: It’s time that we all reflect and appreciate the greatness of Anderson Silva. Sorry, Fedor Emelianko, but Silva is the pound-for-pound, best mixed martial artist of all-time.
Decades from now when you think of legendary fighters, Silva’s name should be at the top of the list. Rarely do we get the chance to watch a fighter at the end of their career still performing at the top of their game.
Greats like Emelianko, Chuck Liddell, Matt Hughes and Randy Couture all sputtered their way into the sunset. But Silva is the rare exception. He is riding an amazing 16-fight win streak as he gets closer to retirement.
The Brazilian is 32-4 overall and no longer a young pup. Silva is 37 years old and doesn’t appear to be the type who will keep fighting when his skills diminish. We can probably count on one hand how many times we will see Silva in the Octagon again. After that, Silva most likely will exit MMA forever.
That brings us back to Saturday’s matchup against Bonnar (14-7). This fight is not so much about the opponent as it is a celebration of Silva’s career. Silva gets to fight against a 12-to-1 underdog in front of his native country of Brazil — perhaps for the last time. Win or lose, that should be the focus of this main event.
Silva has defined what it means to be a champion in MMA. Not counting the disqualification to Yushin Okami, Silva has not lost a fight since his Pride days in December of 2004. The name Ryo Chonan could be a great trivia question someday. How a fighter with a 6-8 career record beat Silva with a heel hook is beyond me. But that shows anything can happen in MMA.
It takes a special fighter to go eight years without a loss, especially at the top of the ultra-competitive UFC. Silva most likely will take that unbeaten streak into 2013, where only top-level fights (Georges St. Pierre? Chris Weidman? Michael Bisping?) should await.
Here are other reasons to care about UFC 153:
Teixeira’s legend is growing faster outside the Octagon than it is inside. He’s only had one UFC fight, but his stock continues to rise as top light heavyweights like Mauricio “Shogun” Rua and Rashad Evans have turned down fights with Teixeria. Quinton Jackson also backed out due to injury. That leaves Teixeira to face Fabio Maldonado at UFC 153. Fans interested in finding out what the hype is about can see for themselves.
Erick Silva vs. Jon Fitch
This is a great matchup of a rising prospect against a longtime contender. Fitch (23-4) has been in the title picture for years at welterweight but never reached the title. After losing to Johny Hendricks, Fitch needs a win against Silva to avoid “gatekeeper” status. Erick Silva (15-2) is an exciting, up-and-coming fighter. He reminds many observers of a younger, slightly smaller version of Anderson Silva. This will be a big test for the Brazilian on his home turf. A win by Erick Silva could catapult him closer to title contention.
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