Bigfoot Silva was a highly touted import from the Strikeforce roster. Several MMA websites ranked the Brazilian in their divisional Top 10 lists, and his UFC debut against Roy Nelson was highly anticipated.
The hype surrounding Silva seems unwarranted when you recognize that his five previous fights saw him lose twice, and nearly get knocked out by light-heavyweight Mike Kyle in a third.
What is it that convinced us that Silva was a contender? Did we get carried away with the fact that Bigfoot is literally a giant? That's possible, but I think the question we ask should be "Who?" rather than "Why?"
The "who" is in reference to former No. 1 heavyweight in the world Fedor Emelianenko. Last February, in the opening round of the Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix, Silva upset Emelianeko with a doctor stoppage after the second round.
Even though Fedor had just lost to Fabricio Werdum, the loss to Silva seemed to be more significant. After all, many fans were still claiming that Werdum got lucky and caught Fedor with a well-timed choke. For the record, a world-caliber BJJ specialist doesn't get lucky when securing a submission of that nature.
The loss to Bigfoot wasn't something that could be dismissed as a mistake, or a fluke. It was the first time in the Russian's career that he had been thoroughly dominated. Not just dominated, but flattened, steamrolled and pillaged.
Silva got into mount and threw what can best be described as sledgehammer fists that left Fedor's eye swollen completely shut.
While Fedor had a legitimate right to call himself the greatest heavyweight alive at one point in time, 2011 was not part of that era.
As fight fans, we tend to invest ourselves emotionally in the fighters that we have grown to love, and for that reason, we tend to ignore the natural decline that occurs in the twilight of their careers.
So when Bigfoot dominated Fedor, many fans erroneously viewed it as Bigfoot dominating the greatest fighter alive. For that reason, a hype train was built, and quickly derailed.
I'm not trying to claim that Bigfoot is some sort of awful fighter, because he isn't. His accomplishments are warranted. The truth is that Silva is a solid fighter who has very good jiu-jitsu, but not much else.
After being caught in each of his last three contests, the game plan to defeat him has been on display for any heavyweight willing to step into the cage with the Brazilian giant.