Ranking Wanderlei Silva's 10 Greatest Victories
Though he may be in the twilight of his long and illustrious run, Wanderlei Silva has already solidified himself in the history books as one of the greatest fighters of all time.
The former Pride world champion has tangled with and defeated many notable fighters, some that have gone on to remain viable figures in the mixed martial arts world.
For all his accolades and for all his prestige, these are his 10 most significant and most memorable victories that Silva has procured in his career.
Yuki Kondo, PRIDE Final Conflict 2004
Well into his career with PRIDE, Silva was in need of notable opposition after having defended his middleweight crown on three separate occasions.
Next, the Brazilian took on Japan's own Yuki Kondo, a legend of the Pancrase circuit who wielded an unorthodox array of strikes.
Kondo fell victim to the whirlwind dervish that is Silva, who knocked out the former UFC title challenger in less than three minutes of action.
Silva became the first man to stop Kondo with strikes, even though the Japanese stud had accumulated over 60 professional bouts.
Guy Mezger, PRIDE 10
After dropping a disappointing decision loss to Tito Ortiz, who claimed the vacant 205-pound title with the victory, Silva later returned back to the PRIDE organization, taking on a familiar face in Guy Mezger.
The talented and heavy-handed kickboxer had become a permanent fixture in the UFC's light heavyweight division, though decided to try his hand overseas.
After rocking Silva early, Mezger eventually succumbed to the heavy hooks of Silva, which finished off the American in less than four minutes of the opening round.
Kazuyuki Fujita, PRIDE Critical Countdown Absolute
Wrestling powerhouse Kazuyuki Fujita was dubbed "Ironhead" thanks to the insurmountable punishment that he has been known to withstand in his battles in PRIDE.
However, Silva became the man that would put those notions to rest as the Brazilian dropped and rocked Fujita several times throughout the bout, finally finishing him off with an array of punches and soccer kicks to the face.
The TKO victory made Silva the first man to finish off the durable Japanese fighter on strikes.
Dan Henderson, PRIDE 12
Silva had the benefit of taking on future champion Dan Henderson early on in his career.
In the early stages of the Henderson sage, the Team Quest fighter relied heavily on his wrestling skills, later realizing the ridiculous one-punch knockout power he now possesses and relies on frequently.
Henderson dropped Silva early, though the Chute Boxe product showed his resolve, later using his high-level conditioning and pace to wear down the Californian, eventually taking home the close decision victory.
Kazushi Sakuraba II, PRIDE 17
Though Silva already owned a TKO victory over Kazushi Sakuraba, the Brazilian was pitted against the fan favorite once again, this time the stakes were a little bit higher.
The fight was set to determine the organization's first middleweight champion. Much like their first outing, Silva throttled Sakuraba every which way, both on the feet and on the ground.
Eventually, after the first round concluded after 10 minutes of gritty action, Sakuraba was deemed unfit to continue when ringside doctors called a halt to the bout, declaring Silva the winner by TKO.
With the victory, Silva claimed the 205-pound title which marked only the beginning of his long and arduous run through the promotion.
Quinton Jackson, PRIDE Final Conflict 2003
Whilst the PRIDE middleweight champion, Silva entered the organization's 2003 Grand Prix where he met with the heavy-handed Quinton Jackson, who would later go on to become his greatest rival.
Jackson proved formidable early, working Silva to the mat courtesy of his wrestling background. Once Silva worked his way back to the feet, the Muay Thai specialist blasted away with knees and punches galore when moments later the referee mercifully halted the bout.
With the TKO victory, Silva earned a second belt to add to the mantle, becoming the 205-pound Grand Prix champion in the process.
Ricardo Arona II, PRIDE Shockwave 2005
In the most talent-laden field of competitors, Silva took part in the PRIDE Middleweight Grand Prix in 2005 which featured 16 of the best fighters in the world.
In the semifinal round, Silva was upset by fellow countryman Ricardo Arona, who hailed from the rivaling camp in Brazilian Top Team.
The ADCC Submission Wrestling world champion had earned a shot at Silva's title with his initial decision victory. In a back-and-forth battle, Silva edged Arona just enough to take home the decision win, avenging the previous loss and reasserting himself as one of the best fighters in the division.
Quinton Jackson II, PRIDE 28
After Jackson's emphatic power bomb, knockout victory over the aforementioned Arona, it became clear that the American had become the next contender to Silva's 205-pound title.
Jackson managed to level Silva early with a straight right hand, though failed to capitalize on his wounded opponent. Eventually, Silva worked his way back to his feet where he deftly applied his infamous clinch, reminiscent of their first battle just one year prior.
Jackson proved to be too tough for his own good and attempted to stave off several knees to the head and body, though the final knee connected flush, sending "Rampage" crashing through the ropes, laying there knocked out, a bloody mess.
Keith Jardine, UFC 84
After riding a career-worst three-fight losing streak, Silva was in desperate need of a win.
Once coveted as the best fighter in the light heavyweight division, Silva looked to be only a shell of his former self, though he came right back to true form when he took on then-contender Keith Jardine.
Silva caught Jardine early with his powerful hooks, following the Greg Jackson fighter to the canvas where "The Axe Murderer" poured on some devastating ground-and-pound blows which left Jardine out cold on the canvas in just a matter of 36 seconds.
Cung Le, UFC 139
After suffering a devastating knockout loss to Chris Leben in his previous outing, many were calling for the impromptu retirement of the fan favorite, though Silva proved that there was still more left in the tank.
This November, the Las Vegas fighter took on former Strikeforce middleweight champion Cung Le. The Sanshou specialist used all of his striking skills at his disposal, using roundhouse kicks, sidekicks and leg kicks galore in order to slow down the heavy-footed Brazilian.
Silva was caught early with a hard spinning backfist, though he showed his resolve and later recovered to see the second round.
There, Silva poured on the tempo, using his pace and conditioning in order to tire Le. Once the Vietnamese fighter was in range and noticeably fatigued, Silva pounced with head kicks and punches, with a stiff right hand sending Le to the canvas.
Some devastating knees and a few ground-and-pound blows later, Silva quickly re-entered the win column with the exciting TKO victory which earned him "Fight of the Night" for his efforts.