Anderson Silva Says UFC Legend Is Best MMA Fighter He’s Ever Seen

Anderson Silva

Getty Anderson Silva

Former UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva is arguably the greatest mixed martial artist of all time. But for “The Spider,” BJ Penn is the best to ever do it.

That’s what Silva said during a recent interview with Helen Yee ahead of his October 29th boxing bout against Jake Paul in Phoenix, Arizona.

“All right, so. I think BJ Penn is the best MMA fighter I’ve seen fight in my entire life,” Silva said (h/t “I’m a big fan of BJ Penn.”

“The Prodigy” is one of only seven fighters to earn two divisional UFC titles. A former welterweight and lightweight UFC champion, Penn holds a professional mixed martial arts record of 16-14-2. He won the 170-pound belt when he bested Matt Hughes at UFC 46 in 2004, however he’d be stripped of the strap that same year due to a contract dispute with the promotion.

In 2008, Penn picked up the vacant 155-pound belt by defeating “The Ultimate Fighter 2” winner Joe Stevenson at UFC 280. He’d end up defending the belt three times before dropping it to Frankie Edgar in 2010 at UFC 112.

The Prodigy, 43, boasts wins over several notable figures, including Kenny Florian, Jens Pulver, Renzo Gracie, Takanori Gomi and Sean Sherk. Penn’s UFC run came to a rough end, however. He suffered seven straight defeats inside the Octagon spanning three different weight classes.

His last trip to the cage took place in May 2019 when he lost to Clay Guida via unanimous decision in a lightweight bout at UFC 237. Penn was released from the promotion that same year and he hasn’t competed since.

Although Penn’s final years as a fighter damaged his legacy in some fans’ eyes, he’s undeniably one of the greatest 155-pound combatants to grace MMA.

Silva Recently Said ’49 Is the Number’ for His Retirement

Like Penn, Silva is no longer contracted by the UFC. However, he’s made a successful transition to boxing, and after picking up professional wins over Tito Ortiz and Julio Cesar Chavez Jr., The Spider will look to take out “The Problem Child” next month.

Silva’s combat sports career extension won’t last forever, however. The 47-year-old fighter recently told Ariel Helwani on “The MMA Hour” that he planned to retire at 49.

“When I’m done, I’m done,” Silva said (h/t MMA News). “I just close the door, this is part of my past, thank you, and I’m out. But right now, I’m good. I’m continuing doing something very good, doing sparring with good kids, professional fighters, Olympic champions. The guys have helped me a lot and I’m continuing doing something at the same level as the kids… I don’t know (if I’ll fight at 50).

“I think I’ll do fighting with my grandchildren in the home… I think my last fight will be at 49. 49 is the number.”

Silva Holds Several Notable UFC Records

Silva, like Penn, also left the UFC on a losing streak. He had dropped three consecutive fights, including his final Octagon appearance. He drew Uriah Hall in October 2020 and was finished via fourth-round TKO.

All in all, Silva has a professional mixed martial arts record of 34-11 with one no-contest. The Spider continues to hold several UFC records, including the longest win streak inside the Octagon (16) and longest title reign (2,457 days).

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