6 ft 2 in (1.88 m) / 185 lb (84 kg; 13 st 3 lb) / Middleweight
One of the greatest to ever do it, Anderson “The Spider” Silva is a Brazillian Mixed Martial Artist that was known for his brutal finishes. Some fighters have power that knocks people out cold but as for Silva, he uses pinpoint accuracy to finish his opponents. Not only that but he is also known for his striking defense, where he evades or rolls with the punches.
Prior to joining the UFC, he was already a big name to the hardcore fans. Yes, he had losses but most of them were not really dominant and the other one ended in a DQ. On his debut, it was already a title eliminator against Chris Leben.
Joe Rogan was already aware of how good Silva was even before setting foot inside the Octagon. He described it as an easy payday and to bet big on Silva since the fight would not be even close.
The fight was not even competitive, it was like amateur fighting for the first time against a world-class fighter. Silva might be the first to elevate MMA striking, no other fighter was as skilled in the striking department as he was. If Royce Gracie was the pioneer in MMA grappling, BJJ to be specific, Silva was the guy in the diverse striking.
Immediate Title shot
In just his second UFC fight, UFC already granted Silva a title shot against Rich Franklin. He finished Franklin with ease with the use of the Muay Thai clinch. He managed to knockout Franklin. The level of competition in the fight was not even close, it was like Silva has been the champion for so long.
After winning the title, Silva started his long journey of dominating the middleweight champion. Who knew that it would become one of the most legendary runs in MMA history.
Middleweight Title Defense
What made Silva great was not just because he was the champion, but he finishes guys and makes it look so easy. He was a fighter ahead of his time, there was an aura of invincibility with Silva’s reign.
He went on to fight Travis Lutter, Nate Marquardt (who later became a Strikeforce champion), a rematch with Rich Franklin and even dismantled a top contender and heavy-handed Dan Henderson. It just shows that Silva was not all striking but his BJJ was elite as well.
Silva was running through everyone that he ran out of competition, he decided to fight bigger guys which are at the 205 or light-heavyweight division. Silva was the champion and it would have been ideal had he fought for another belt as well but he did not want to face his teammate, Lyoto Machida.
So he faced former light-heavyweight champion and TUF Winner, Forrest Griffin. The fight was just so one-sided. Silva just put his hands down and turned the fight like a matrix. It was like a warm-up for Silva.
What made it impressive as it was just not his defensive matrix but the way he knocked Griffin out. It was not even full swing but just a well-timed and accurate counter shot. Griffin was so embarrassed that he just run backstage after the results.
Back to Middleweight
Silva went back down to face BJJ specialist, Demian Maia. Although the fight was not as entertaining as people expected. It was just Maia lying on his back trying to lure Silva of a grappling exchange while Silva would not bite. Silva was too cautious that even Dana White did not want to wrap the belt due to the lackluster fight.
Silva vs Sonnen 1
This is the fight that defined Silva’s championship heart, he was set to face elite wrestler, Chael Sonnen. In just the early parts, Sonnen managed to rock Silva that gave him the momentum till the final round. Sonnen outwrestled and outclassed Silva, that even if he loses the last round, he would still win via unanimous decision. It was jaw-dropping as it was the first moment fans saw Silva like a human.
With 2 mins left in the fight, Sonnen just needs to survive and stall time and he will become the new undisputed champion. Silva miraculously locked a triangle choke, that stopped the fight. Silva just showed that even if he was 4 rounds down, he would still find a way to win.
Silva vs Belfort
The fight that will be repeated numerous times, Vitor Belfort was known as the Phenom mainly because of his explosive striking. In just the first round, Silva knocked Belfort out with a front kick. You heard it right, a front kick which is an extremely rare kick to knock people out and Silva did it against former champion, Vitor Belfort. It is probably Silva’s most iconic knockout.
Silva’s continued title reign
At that point, there were no more competitors left for Silva. The gap between him and the other contenders was just massive, so he just fought Yushin Okami who he lost to via DQ. It was to avenge his last loss.
Since his fight with Sonnen the first time, he was badly beaten that many would say that he was lucky or just got away with it. It would make sense to run it back, and the UFC did book it. In the fight, Sonnen made a stupid move of throwing a spinning back elbow that missed badly. Silva capitalized on it that led to a finish.
Silva’s aura of invincibility just came back, he went to light-heavyweight and faced Stephan Bonnar where he finished the fight with ease as well.
Silva’s reign ended when he faced the young undefeated, Chris Weidman. What made Silva entertaining is his matrix and hands-down style of fighting. At that point, Silva just had no more challenge. As he was dodging the punches of Weidman, he eventually got caught that knocked him out. It was one of the most shocking losses and thus ended Silva’s undefeated UFC run.
As he had numerous title defenses, it was right that Silva deserved to have a rematch against Chris Weidman. Unfortunately, Silva suffered an injury when he threw a leg kick that ended the fight. Father time may have caught of up with Silva at that point.
Unfortunately, Silva’s time of being at the top has ended but he still has not decided to retire from the sport. His next fight was against Nick Diaz where he won via decision but was overturned to a No contest due to Silva testing positive for a banned substance.
He also faced Michael Bisping, where he knocked out Bisping but did not end the fight as the bell immediately rang and Bisping managed to recover in-between rounds.
At this point in his career, it was not the dominant Silva that the fans knew but just a shadow of itself. Although there were moments that he still showed that he is dangerous like when he fought Daniel Cormier on short notice, he managed to hurt Cormier via body kick. He also beat Derek Brunson via unanimous decision.
After 2 years off, he returned to face the rising star, Israel Adesanya where it was like a passing of the torch. He then broke his leg when he faced Jared Cannonier and got brutally knocked out by Uriah Hall. UFC decided to release Silva.
Boxing after MMA
After his UFC career has ended, Silva decided to transition to boxing. We are all aware of how good Silva’s striking is, he signed a deal to face former boxing world champion, Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. He managed to outbox a world champion, just after retiring from MMA. That is not an easy thing to do, just shows that Silva still got it.
He was then booked for a co-main event at Triller Card, he faced former UFC champion, Tito Ortiz. The fight ended quickly as Silva landed a counter strike that put Ortiz to sleep. Silva’s boxing run has been entertaining and might seem to continue.