Evaluating the Champs: Anderson Silva
Continuing our look at the champions of the UFC this week, today we’ll look at current middleweight champion, Anderson Silva.
Between UFC 64 and UFC 83, a period of less than two years, there were a total of eight title changes across each weight class. Compare that to the UFC of today, where you will find the combined length of title reign for the five champions is well over 3000 days.
What a difference a few years makes.
Right now, the UFC finds itself on uncommon ground. All five of their champions are the best in the world in their weight class (a guy who defeats recycled UFC champions for lesser promotions is not the top heavyweight in the world anymore…sorry), and honestly, there are very few guys out there that will challenge any of these champs.
Simply put, the UFC is in the midst of a historical era in mixed martial arts. Breaking it down:
- Of the five champions, three are a lock for the UFC Hall of Fame (arbitrary I know, but BJ Penn, Anderson Silva, and Georges St. Pierre would make any MMA Hall of Fame)
- Taking it one step further, you’d have a hard time arguing these three are not the greatest fighters of all-time in their weight classes
- The other two (Lyoto Machida and Brock Lesnar) are both very early on in their career, yet already look like they could some day be HOF worthy
- Three guys are a fight away from completely cleaning out their division (Silva and GSP are probably already there)
- None of the above 5 have lost a fight in the last two years, except for BJ, but his lone loss came from fellow champ GSP
Impressive to say the least.
Nonetheless, as good as these guys are, they will all taste defeat at some point. It’s the nature of the sport, and everyone is one punch or one bad decision away from being beaten. So while it will happen, who knows when or by who? Hopefully this primer will help figure that out.
Anderson ‘The Spider’ Silva – 25-4
How He Got Here – def. Rich Franklin via KO on October 14, 2006
Title Defenses – 5 (Nate Marquardt, Rich Franklin, Dan Henderson, Patrick Cote, Thales Leites)
What Makes Him So Good?
Is everything an option here? Right now, Anderson Silva is the Michael Jordan of MMA. He has a black belt in three different disciplines, including Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, and you won’t find a better Muay Thai striker in the world. There are no holes in his game.
What can you do? His stand-up is deadly (see his embarrassing demolition of Forrest Griffin). His Muay Thai clinch is a death grip (Rich Franklin’s nose can tell you all about it). His ground game is solid(Dan Henderson, a great wrestler, actually won a round against him before being choked out). How do you approach this guy?
Many already consider Anderson the greatest fighter of all time, and there’s little debate on our end. No man has dominated a division quite like ‘The Spider,’ and nothing shows that better than his UFC-record 10 fight winning streak.
What It Will Take To Beat Him
A change in weight class? Even if ‘The Spider’ moves up, he would fare well at 205. Hes already taken out a man one fight removed from holding the title in Forrest Griffin and embarrassed another in that division when he crushed James Irvin. He is just as tough a matchup at 205.
Outside of that, the only way Anderson Silva loses if he makes a mistake and lets his guard down. After setting a record for consecutive wins in the UFC, it is plausible that he may take an opponent for granted. He is a showman and has never been too shy in or outside of the ring (just take a look at one of the most entertaining walkouts you will ever see). Maybe it’s a stretch, but if you’re going to try and find a weakness with the man, it’s reasonable to think that he could let his guard down, try to put on a show, and let his cockiness get in his way.
So Who’s Next?
The obvious fight here is to see Georges St. Pierre move up in weight at challenge him at 185.Even so, Silva would have a significant weight and reach advantage, providing a tough matchup for GSP. Nonetheless, its been a fight that fans have been clamoring for since both have dominated their divisions.
Outside of GSP, there really aren’t many fights that look appealing at 185. Vitor Belfort looked impressive against Rich Franklin and has the kind of stand-up game that leaves him one punch away from victory in any fight. Dan Henderson proved he could hang with Anderson Silva, but after signing with Strikeforce, it’s unlikely that we’ll ever get that rematch. Demian Maia, Anderson’s next opponent at UFC 112, is one of the best Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu practitioners in the world, but thats putting the fight right into Silva’s wheelhouse. Anderson has recently said that he is far from cleaning out his division, but really…is there anyone else?
GSP is the logical fight here. Both are fighting in the next month, and if both come away relatively unscathed, what better way to usher in the UFC in Boston than a GSP-Anderson Silva superfight in August?
Check back tomorrow, where we will take a look at current light heavyweight champion, Lyoto Machida.
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