Wanderlei Silva: Does the Legendary Fighter Need to Retire?

Jeremy Botter@jeremybotterMMA Senior WriterJuly 4, 2012

LAS VEGAS, NV - NOVEMBER 30:  Mixed martial artist Wanderlei Silva arrives at the Fighters Only World Mixed Martial Arts Awards 2011 at the Palms Casino Resort November 30, 2011 in Las Vegas, Nevada.  (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
Ethan Miller/Getty Images

We can't go a day or two without someone discussing why Wanderlei Silva needs to retire.

I'll admit that I was on that bandwagon prior to his UFC 147 fight with Rich Franklin. I felt like the sport had passed Silva by, and I was worried that the Franklin bout would not end well. 

As it turned out, Silva wasn't quite done. Franklin is hardly known for his knockout power, but he hits hard. Very hard. And Silva didn't just survive Franklin's punches—he also delivered plenty of action on his own, nearly finishing Franklin in the second round.

Does this mean Silva has plenty of fights left in him? I don't think so. At the end of the day, he's still gone through plenty of wars throughout his career, and he's suffered more knockouts than I'm comfortable with for any fighter.

UFC president Dana White agrees with me (h/t Dan Stupp and John Morgan, MMAJunkie).

Wanderlei is a guy, yeah, I want to talk to. He looked good in that fight. He almost won, and it's not like he got knocked out. And Rich Franklin can crack. He just knocked Chuck out.

I think Wanderlei is coming to the end. I think he knows that too. There's nothing wrong with that. We all get old, and this is a young man's game. We'll see what happens.

I'm not saying he needs to retire, but he's getting close.

Prior to UFC 147, White said that if Silva suffered a bad knockout, he would talk to him about retiring. That didn't happen, but White clearly still isn't all that comfortable with the idea of Silva continuing his fighting career.

I'm not all that comfortable with the idea, either, but I also believe that Silva proved he can still compete. He'll never beat the top five guys in the middleweight division. And he might not even compete against the top 10.

But his performance against Franklin earned him at least one more walk to the Octagon.