Now that Browne and Bigfoot have met in the Octagon on UFC on FX, the UFC now prepares for one of its most intriguing headliners in the company's history. One might argue it is a mismatch of grand proportion, but the fighters and the UFC brass see this as an opportunity for something great to happen.
When fight fans heard that UFC 153 would now be headlined by Anderson Silva vs. Stephan Bonnar, a collective eyebrow was raised. While the circumstances were that both men were the ones to step up first and agree to fight, it still was confusing that these two men would be pitted against the other.
Following Silva’s most recent triumph over his greatest rival, Chael Sonnen, many felt that Chris Weidman, Michael Bisping, Rashad Evans or others would be the next name to grace the blue corner across from the greatest fighter of all time. However, due to timing, Silva was able to take a short-notice fight at light heavyweight, closer to where his natural walking-around weight is.
As the UFC promotional commercial indicates, this fight can end in one of two ways. The first being yet another, and arguably very expected, incredible knockout, or, second, the biggest upset in UFC history. Both very valid statements given the circumstances and history of both.
Both men are very well known in the MMA world, and for different reasons. Silva is the greatest fighter, and Bonnar put on what some consider the greatest fight of all time. Oddsmakers, fans, fighters and maybe even Bonnar himself would put money on Anderson Silva emerging as the victor off of sheer stats; but in this sport, anyone can win on any given night.
So what happens if Silva wins? Nothing much, because it was expected of him, with the variables of how he wins.
But what happens if Bonnar wins?
First off, there is no belt on the line for Silva, so his legacy as the Middleweight champion is still preserved. However, his record of being undefeated in the Octagon will come to an abrupt halt. While his record and history completely outweighs any one loss he might take now, it is the conceptual perception of the MMA world that this would hurt his legacy.
Many feel that this is a cakewalk for Silva, and losing to a guy who spoke of retiring soon is not a good loss to take, especially when you are considered the greatest pound-for-pound fighter of all time. The fact that the fight is taking place a weight class up helps ease the blow of a loss, but at the same time, Silva has gone up to light heavyweight twice before, scoring two first-round knockouts.
Bonnar though, has never been finished in the Octagon. He has never been KO’d, nor has he ever been submitted. His durability against a man who has built his name upon KO's and submissions will be truly tested. It is the relentless warrior inside of Bonnar that will be his biggest advantage in this fight. If he can weather the storm, who knows what could happen?
A decision win over Silva would be the softest way for Silva to take a hit from a loss, and it probably is the best chance for Bonnar as well to emerge victorious. Regardless, Silva is at a point in his career where fans are looking for reasons to hate him. Some hate him because of his consistent success, because of his actions, because of the Sonnen campaign or other reasons. Silva taking any sort of loss gives fuel to the fire.
It helps fuel arguments that fans have over who is the best pound-for-pound fighter, for example. Fedor Emelianenko, Georges St. Pierre, Jon Jones and some others have all had great arguments in their favor for the P4P title, and a loss to Bonnar would not help Silva’s case in this regard.
But ultimately, a win for Bonnar would be groundbreaking. Bonnar is a fighter that has been around for a while, and he truly devotes himself to the sport and his fans. He faced Forrest Griffin in what has become known as the most significant and greatest fight in UFC history. Since that showdown, Stephan has been trying to make his way to the top for a belt, or just to be considered in the upper echelon of fighters.
The one thing that could top his fight with Griffin would be a win over Anderson Silva. If he can accomplish this, he can retire on the complete opposite spectrum of how Chuck Liddell retired. It’s hard to weigh which the media would jump on more: Silva’s loss, or Bonnar's victory? History has shown news favors the negative, so Silva would most likely be placed under the microscope, or at least until his next fight at middleweight. Silva would have to make a physical statement in his following fight to counter a loss to Bonnar.
Until Silva and Bonnar meet inside the cage at UFC 153, we can all speculate, analyze and pray that there are no more injuries or arrests that will affect this card!