“This is a different kind of striker.”
That quote by commentator Joe Rogan during Anderson Silva’s UFC debut was perhaps one of the most accurate lines ever stated about a competitor in mixed martial arts.
Anderson Silva has won titles, broken records, and compiled stellar highlight reel knockouts throughout his long and storied career. A formidable fighter in Cage Rage, PRIDE FC, and more, the Muay Thai specialist really made a name for himself when he came to the U.S. and joined the UFC.
Silva made his UFC debut against Chris Leben at UFC Fight Night 5 back in 2006. He was 17-4 coming to the bout with The Ultimate Fighter reality show participant Leben, who was known for his heavy hands and fearless attitude. To those who didn’t know about Silva’s background, the fight may have looked bleak for him.
But Silva put on an impressive showing, dispatching Leben in just 49 seconds with laser-accurate striking to move forward in the middleweight title eliminator. His next fight was a title shot against then 21-1 champ Rich Franklin. Silva dominated Franklin like no one in the division ever had before, stopping him with brutal knees from the clinch.
Silva’s first defense was scheduled to be against Travis Lutter. Though the fight ended up being a non-title bout due to Lutter missing weight, many thought his ground game would give the champ problems. But Silva, showing his well-roundedness, managed to submit Lutter with a triangle choke and elbows.
Silva continued his winning ways, compiling an impressive 16-fight winning streak in the promotion. He won a rematch against Franklin, unified the UFC and PRIDE middleweight titles by besting Dan Henderson, and won a pair of bouts over fierce rival Chael Sonnen. Silva even went up to light heavyweight, defeating the likes of James Irvin, Stephan Bonnar, and former 205-pound king Forest Griffin – all in the first round.
But now that his best days are behind him, many have encouraged the man called “The Spider” to call it quits. But his skills may be surpassed only by his determination, as Silva said he isn’t bowing out yet.
“You can be sure it’s not over yet,” Silva said. “My love and my passion for the fight are here, firm and strong. The fight continues. I’ll stop when God thinks I can’t do it anymore. So who is my fan, you can be sure I will be back soon. For the joy of those who cheer for me and the sadness of those who don’t.”
Silva scored a unanimous decision over Derek Brunson at UFC 208, though the outcome was controversial. That snapped a five-fight winless skid, consisting of four losses and one win overturned to a no-contest. After losing the title to Chris Weidman and suffering a nasty leg injury in the rematch, Silva defeated Nick Diaz only to have the win overturned due to a positive drug test.
Losses to Michael Bisping and Daniel Cormier followed. Silva was set to face Kelvin Gastelum recently, but was pulled from the fight due to another positive drug test.