It was a cool October night. Friends were gathered around the TV watching UFC 64. Sean Sherk had just defeated Kenny Florian to capture the vacant Lightweight Championship, and the main event was just about to start. I was highly intrigued by the bout because my favorite fighter, Rich Franklin, was about to defend his title against Anderson Silva. It was a fight I thought Franklin had in the bag. So what, Silva had just knocked out Chris Leben? He’s not as good as Franklin.
Some well placed knees from the clinch later, I was wrong and Silva had started his reign as the UFC Middleweight Champion.
That was all it took for me to think, “This guy is amazing.” He cut through Rick Franklin like a hot knife through butter and captured gold. Even when Franklin got his eventual rematch I held little hope that he’d reclaim the throne.
Now here we are, many years later, and I don’t believe you people understand what you are watching. I don’t think you comprehend the greatness. Silva is a once-in-a-lifetime talent. There was never anyone like him before he entered the cage, and they’ll never be anyone like him after he’s long gone.
Take this last fight with Yushin Okami. Sure, no one who really understands MMA gave Okami a snowflakes chance in Hell of defeating “The Spider,” but it’s not because Okami is some washed-up or unskilled fighter. On the contrary. Okami is a big, strong middleweight fighter with a black belt in Judo who has been fighting in the UFC since UFC 62, defeating numerous fighters. And it’s not like he’s been given cans. Okami has fought Alan Belcher, Rick Franklin, Evan Tanner, Nate Marquardt, and Chael Sonnen, to name a few. So the guys is right there at the top of the division.
But he was destroyed as soon as Silva figured out his gameplan. Silva made it look like this was Okami’s professional debut.
Or let’s look at the Vitor Belfort title defense. Everyone was touting Belfort as the man to finally bring down the champion. “His power and hand speed could be the great equalizer…” Yeah, could be, but it seems everyone forgets one thing: you can’t hit what you can’t see.
Silva stood, toe to toe with “The Phenom.” In most cases that’s suicide. But Silva did what he always does, he danced in front of him, dodging this punch, dodging that punch. And when Belfort left himself open, BOOM! Front kick to the face for the knockout. Probably the most amazing knockout I’ve ever seen.
The would-be champion didn’t even make it out of the first round.
“But what about Chael Sonnen? He almost beat Silva.” Yeah, maybe. But he didn’t. If it weren’t for Silva’s broken ribs/torn cartilage and Sonnen’s PED usage I might agree with you. But going into the fight, Silva stated that he wanted to submit Sonnen because Sonnen was disrespecting Nogueira Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu in many public forums. Well, that’s exactly what he did.
I could go on and on and dissect every fight, where people called for Silva to finally be brought down. But what’s the point? His 15 straight victories (14-0 UFC) and 9 title defenses should be well more than enough to prove to you naysayers that this man is the Michael Jordan of MMA. Those are records he’s only increasing, records that will most likely never be touched.
Yes, that should be enough. But there are still people out there claiming that welterweight kingpin Georges St-Pierre would beat him. Or that someone in the Light Heavyweight division could do what no one before them has done, the latest being champion Jon Jones.
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: Anderson Silva would destroy Georges St-Pierre. It wouldn’t even be a fight. Silva is too big and too skilled to be defeated at St-Pierre’s hands. If you just look at the way each fighter is defeating their respective opponents you could clearly see that Silva is out of St-Pierre’s league.
Jon Jones? While Jones would probably be a more formidable opponent, he’d be dispatched in the end. All his crazy striking techniques would land him in deep water with Silva. But unlike the rusty Mauricio “Shogun” Rua who didn’t pull the trigger, Silva would pounce all over Jones’ many openings. Jones has but one way to defeat Silva: take him down and keep him there to rain down elbows. That’s it. And I doubt he’d be able to do it.
The way Silva is able to dispatch opponents anywhere he chooses, how he chooses, is unbelievable. Name one other fighter you can say that about. Seriously, I’ll wait…
Anderson Silva is the greatest martial artist to have ever done it. So much so, that Bruce Lee would probably bow down to “The Spider.” If this were the Iliad, he would not be Hector, he’d be Achilles. If this were 73BC Rome, he would not be Crixus, he’d be Spartacus. And it isn’t the 15 straight wins or the 9 title defenses. It’s the way he makes the #2 guys look like the #10 guy.
So instead of looking for the next guy to bring Anderson Silva “back to Earth,” how about marveling in the greatness of the greatest fighter to ever live?