Is Anderson Silva the greatest MMA Fighter Ever? (Pt 1)
In the lead up to UFC148 we will be taking a two part look at the UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva and asking if he is the greatest MMA fighter in the sports short history.
Today I am suggesting he is and tomorrow The Roar’s MMA expert E. Spencer Kyte will be rebutting the idea.
It would be great if you guys could also let us know what you think of Silva in the comments below.
Anderson Silva is without a doubt the greatest fighter in MMA’s history. No other fighter in the history of the sport has so utterly dominated a division, no one has displayed a skill level as high as the man they call ‘the Spider’ and no other fighter has transcended from champion to legend in the way Silva has.
Quite simply, Anderson Silva turns a sport often known for bloody brawls into fine art.
A simple glance at his record gives you an idea of his dominance; 31 wins for only four losses, one of which is a dubious disqualification against Yushin Okami.
He has not been legitimately beaten since 2004, when Ryo Chonan pulled off a Flying Scissor Heel Hook, one of the flukiest submissions in MMA history.
In the UFC he is unbeaten, including a record 10 title defences; he is the most accurate striker ever in the UFC and has held the middleweight belt for a record 2089 days and counting.
The numbers alone put him at the pinnacle of the sport, but as is often the case they don’t paint the whole picture.
Anderson Silva’s ability to mesmerise and then strike with devastating force is unparalleled in MMA and is what truly elevates The Spider above everyone else.
His pure skills have made other look utterly second rate over and over again. As examples I submit his fights against Rich Franklin and Forrest Griffin.
At UFC 64 and 77 Silva so completely dominated Rich Franklin it was almost hard to watch.
At the time of their first fight, Franklin was a relatively dominate middleweight champion, with two title defences under his belt and an eight fight winning streak. Yet when Silva caught Franklin in the classic Muay-Thai clinch it seemed like he had wiped chloroform across Franklin’s face, he simply fell over. Franklin just could not touch The Spider.
Silva’s fight against Forrest Griffin at UFC 101 was even more stunning.
If you haven’t seen this fight you simply must find it now. It is like something out of the Matrix. Silva dropped his hands numerous times and dodged punches like Griffin was fighting in slow motion. He made the mere concept Forrest could hit him seem absurd.
He then knocked Griffin down twice before finally finishing him off with a simple jab. It was pure poetry.
Both those guys are former title holders and have proved they aren’t easy beats, yet when they stepped into the Octagon with The Spider they looked like rookies in their first fight.
He was simply fighting at a different level to anyone else.
Of course Silva’s highlight reel extends beyond those three fights; he holds knockout and submission wins over guys like Yushin Okami, Vitor Belfort, Dan Henderson, Travis Lutter and Nate Marquart.
He has proved himself a champion simply by beating everyone else in his division silly.
Sure, Silva has had some black marks against his career. His fights against Patrick Cote, Thales Leities and Demian Maia stunk of ego.
While I don’t wish to excuse his performance in them, they only reinforce how utterly dominate Silva is in the middleweight division. Silva was so much better he lost all interest in the fights and just started showboating.
These men were the best the UFC could put in front of Silva and they looked like backyard fighters, at best.
Finally though at UFC 117, against Chael Sonnen, Silva proved he has more than his silky smooth skills, he also possess the heart of a champion.
Having been beaten bloody for four rounds straight, it really did look like the Spider’s crown was slipping. But in the dying minutes he grasped victory from the jaws of defeat, locking in a triangle choke, forcing Sonnen to tap out.
It was later revealed he had been fighting with a broken rib against a guy on Performance Enhancing Drugs (PEDs).
Fedor Emelieneko, the only other fighter with a resume to match Silva’s, could not manage this when his legacy was slipping away against Fabricio Werdum and Antonio Silva.
That moment at UFC 117 was Steve Waugh scoring a century of the last ball at the SCG, it was Ian Thorpe chasing down Garry Hall Jnr at the Sydney Olympics, it was a moment when a champion has the world against him but manages to rise above and become a legend.
It was the moment Anderson ‘The Spider’ Silva became a legend.
Follow Sam Brown on Twitter @Sir_Samuel
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