At 35, Anderson “The Spider” Silva is an absolute MMA powerhouse. He has dominated the Middleweight division of The UFC since he first entered The Octagon in 2006. His MMA training is unquestioned. He has a background in Muay Thai and Jiu-Jitsu (similar to what our Muay Thai and Jiu Jitsu trainers teach at The Arena), and has held many titles including UFC Middleweight Champion, Cage Rage Champion, and others. He remains undefeated since 1/20/2006 and has held the championship belt since 10/20/2006. Silva has faced some of the most talented competitors in his division – and other divisions – and has found no one yet who can match his speed, agility, and lethal knockout power.
But what was once a longtime love affair between Silva and the stunned, amazed, and flabbergasted UFC fan base and executive leaders has quickly soured over the past year into disgust and disinterest. The problems started in April of 2009 during a title defense against Thales Leites at UFC 97. What promised to be an interesting matchup between two skilled MMA artists quickly turned into a pathetic and boring bout where Anderson Silva spent the entire fight refusing to get on the ground with Leites, who spent 5 rounds doing his best impersonation of a crab lying on its back trying to bait Silva to wrestle with him. It didn’t take long for the booing to start, and after the seemingly endless fight was over, most fans proclaimed it the worst fight in MMA history…
A year later, Silva’s fought Demian Maia at UFC 112. The best grappler in the UFC, the thought that Maia was perhaps the only contender to give Silva a run for his money made many fans hopeful. After five rounds Maia hung in there against Silva, but Silva won unanimously. Many fans weren’t too happy about the way the match panned out, due to Silva’s mocking gestures; some fans even left the fight early.
Many fans swore they would never watch him fight again, putting Dana White in the position of needing to defend the sport he has spent his professional career elevating to national fame.
So with the UFC executives against him, the fans against him, and his fellow fighters against him, the question remains: will Anderson Silva reign supreme forever?
The answer is a very definite “no.” Even if he remains unbeaten, he will have to balance his ego with humility to keep his fans, not merely scoff at the contenders put in front of him. Based on the past year, the chances that he will be able to do that are slim. What he demonstrated at his last appearance in The Octagon is that the most serious fight will not come from a challenger but from his own sense of invincibility. And history tells us that inflated ego is usually the first step on the tumble down from grace.
Silva fans out there? What do you think about his past fights and the best contender for his next bout.
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