Wanderlei Silva is an iconic warrior who has been fighting for nearly 16 years.
Not only was he the longstanding PRIDE FC Middleweight champion, but he holds the record for most fights within the organization (28) and would occasionally step up and fight heavyweights.
His legacy is one that can not be disputed, however, in his later years, The Axe Murderer has struggled to put together momentum of any kind.
Silva has put together a paltry 3-5 record since returning to the UFC, and is 3-7 in his last 10 fights. This has led many, including Dana White, to suggest that Silva needs to retire.
Should Wanderlei hang up his gloves for good? If you look strictly at his record as of late, there is certainly a case to be made.
However, let's look at some of the additional factors that weigh in his favor.
Not all losses are created equal. Three of Silva's UFC losses came against Chuck Liddell and Rich Franklin twice. Those contests saw Silva put his opponent in dangerous situations during the fight, but he would ultimately drop a decision in each.
Fight-night bonuses were created to reward great performances in the Octagon. Since returning, Silva has snagged four Fight of the Night awards, along with a Knockout of the Night.
In addition, his Fight of the Night over Chuck Liddell would be named 2007's Fight of the Year by many publications. Likewise, his knockout over Keith Jardine was named KO of the Year by Fighters Only.
While vicious knockout losses to Mirko Cro Cop, Dan Henderson, Rampage Jackson and Chris Leben have caused many to claim that Silva's chin has abandoned him, I implore you to read those names again and ask yourself if those knockouts have more to do with a weakened chin or a series of high-impact strikers who are known for possessing dynamite in their strikes.
Silva hurt Franklin badly in the second round of their rematch last night. The crowd booed mightily when the fight wasn't stopped before the horn sounded to end the period.
When the third stanza opened, many assumed that Silva would pounce and try to finish Franklin off. However, he seemed hesitant to fire, and it appears that he blew his energy in an attempt to score the stoppage.
Personally, I don't think that last night was the kind of performance that suggests Silva needs to retire. Great fighters can get excited about a high profile finish. When it doesn't come, they have an adrenaline dump that is hard to overcome.
Is it disappointing? Sure. But it is hardly enough to say that one of the best fighters of all-time needs to call it quits.
As long as Silva can continue to score wins against high-caliber fighters like Michael Bisping and Cung Le, I think that we should be excited to see him step into the cage until he feels the time is right.