Longtime UFC middleweight champion and MMA icon Anderson Silva has had quite an illustrious career. Once the owner of the longest streak of consecutive title defenses, though later passed by Demetrious Johnson, Anderson Silva was the sport’s pound-for-pound king across nearly an entire decade. Silva gets the call for UFC 237 in his home country of Brazil where he faces off with the heavy-handed Jared Cannonier. (You can order the PPV through ESPN+. Go here to order it.)
One of the most creative strikers in the sport with an unmatched highlight reel of knockouts, Silva has always preferred to keep fights on the feet. Despite being an extremely high-level grappler – he holds a black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu – Silva has always used his ground game as more of a way to get back to his feet as opposed to an offensive weapon.
Although he has struggled to pick up consistent wins in his old age, Silva still remains one of the sport’s biggest draws. At Silva’s age, this could be the last chance he has to fight in front of the notoriously rowdy UFC Rio home crowd and the aging striker will almost certainly be trying to put on a show. Thankfully for the fans, in Cannonier, he has an opponent more than happy to step into the middle of the ring and trade shots.
Here’s what you need to know.
1. Who Is Anderson Silva’s Wife?
Anderson Silva is married to Dayane Silva. While it is unclear exactly when the two tied the knot, they have been married for some time and initially met when both were children. Together they have five children – three boys and two girls.
Dayane Silva is normally one to stay out of her husband’s UFC drama but was dragged to the forefront of UFC 148 storylines. Silva’s opponent, Chael Sonnen, repeatedly taunted Silva and his wife, at one point dropping some rather crude remarks about Dayane. Silva vowed to hurt Sonnen and ended up finishing him by a second-round TKO.
Despite for the most part staying out of UFC drama, Dayane has cultivated a fairly large Instagram following of her own. A bodybuilder who studies Jiu-Jitsu (fitting) and Taekwondo. With over 9,000 followers, Silva’s Instagram is primarily geared towards fitness-related photos.
2. What Is Anderson Silva’s Career Record?
Anderson Silva has a career record of 34-9 (1). However, a number of losses in his old age have skewed what was at one time, one of the most incredible records in MMA. After picking up his fourth career loss at the hands of Yushin Okami in January of 2006, Silva would go on a winning streak spanning seven and a half years. Picking up 16 straight wins including an incredible 10 consecutive title defenses of the middleweight belt, Silva would put together one of the most dominant title reigns in UFC history.
During his epic run, Silva took down a number of big names including Rich Franklin, Dan Henderson, Forrest Griffin (at LHW), Damian Maia, and Chael Sonnen. While not a middleweight title defense, Silva’s knockout over Forrest Griffin remains one of the most brilliant displays of stand up game the UFC has ever seen. Griffin, the original Ultimate Fighter Winner, winner of the greatest UFC fight in history, and former light heavyweight champion posed a stiff test for Silva, who was stepping up to Griffin’s weight for the fight. Silva would go on to dismantle Griffin in the first round, dropping him early before ending the fight with the most perfectly placed stepback jab in the history of the sport.
Against Sonnen, he picked up arguably the biggest win of his career. After being taken down and smothered for the better part of five rounds, with the clock ticking down in the final round, Silva caught Sonnen with a triangle choke and forced Sonnen to submit. Silva would score a TKO win over Sonnen in the rematch.
UFC 237 airs May 11 on ESPN+. You can order it here.
3. What Is Anderson Silva’s Height?
Anderson Silva is 6’2′. Standing a bit taller than the average middleweight and possessing exceptional reach, Silva is able to pick opponents apart from a distance. While over the years the average height of middleweights has risen and Silva has faced increasingly larger opponents, the only middleweight he’s seen that’s been taller than him is his last matchup, Israel Adesanya.
Especially early on, Silva’s height and reach were a massive mismatch at middleweight. Silva’s size has allowed him to easily flip between light heavyweight and middleweight. While a bit on the smaller side at light heavyweight, Silva has long enough arms to help offset any opponent’s height advantage and has a speed that most other light heavyweights simply cannot match. However, middleweight is where Silva’s skillset shines brightest. At his quickest at 185, Silva is capable of uncorking vicious flurries of punches and knees in the blink of an eye.
Heading into his fight against Jared Cannonier at UFC 237. Despite standing three inches shorter than Silva, Cannonier actually started his career at heavyweight before dropping down to light heavyweight and eventually even further down to middleweight. Known for his extremely heavy hands, Cannonier looked great in his debut middleweight win over David Branch and gets a sizeable step up in competition with Silva.
4. Who Could Be Anderson Silva’s Next Fight?
If Anderson Silva can get back into the win column, a Brazilian showdown with fellow countryman Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza could be a possible option. Souza is also an aging veteran, however, is one of the deadliest Jiu-Jitsu practitioners in the history of the sport. Souza is coming off a loss to upstart prospect Jack Hermansson and with a Silva win, both fighters would fall in the 5-10 range of the rankings, making for a prime matchup to set one of the two up for one last run at the belt.
If Anderson Silva loses, he almost certainly would slip out of the top 15 overall rankings and would be looking at a fight with someone along the lines of David Branch, Uriah Hall, or possibly Brad Tavares. None of these options are all that appealing for the former pound-for-pound king, making winning the matchup with Cannonier all that more important.
There also is a chance that should Silva lose, he simply calls it quits. At 44 years old with his best days nearly a decade in the rearview mirror, Silva has been able to get by the past few years based on sheer talent and technical striking ability. With a loss to Cannonier, he will have dropped four of his last five fights with only one win coming since 2012.
5. What Happened in Anderson Silva vs Israel Adesanya?
Anderson Silva lost via unanimous decision to Israel Adesanya at UFC 234. While Silva looked strong on his feet, the fight would mark a coming out party for Adesanya who would go on to fight for, and win, the interim middleweight belt.
Despite Silva looking crisp on his feet, he at no point looked to have any control of the fight as Adesanya was for the most part able to dictate where he wanted things to go on the feet. While Silva has been beaten on the feet before, it came on a one-punch haymaker and in a fight where Silva was by far the better striker.
Traditionally the gameplan to beat Silva, outside of a shattered leg or fluke haymaker, is to put him on his back and grind him down. Adesanya threw that gameplan to the wind and simply out-struck the sport’s most dangerous striker for three rounds. Even at 44 years old, Silva is a dangerous man on his feet and while he showed that against Adesanya, the fight served as more of a “passing of the torch” to a kid many compare to a young Anderson Silva.
UFC 237 airs May 11 on ESPN+. You can order it here.