UFC 153 Fight Card: 5 Reasons to Root for Anderson Silva
He's a legend. He's a true phenom, light years beyond his peers.
By acclamation, Silva is the greatest mixed martial artist to ever grace a ring or a cage. To root for him is to root for the sport of MMA itself.
But what does it really mean for the sport if "The Spider" continues his streak? Does Silva's success really affect mixed martial arts more than anyone else?
Once he faces Stephan Bonnar, why should you cheer him on?
It's actually quite simple. From superfights to the true meaning of greatness, let's break down five important reasons why any MMA fan should root for Silva.
Silva's Success Is the UFC's Success
Without Anderson Silva, who does the UFC tout as their crown jewel?
In the world of mixed martial arts, no other fighter has been as successful as Silva, the first MMA athlete sponsored by Nike and Burger King. In the world of professional sports, no one may be as important to the UFC's future as Anderson Silva.
He's even helped support a huge boom in popularly for the UFC in Brazil, possibly the single most fervent hotbed for MMA in the entire world.
Many other all-time greats have fallen. Fedor Emelianenko, Matt Hughes, Dan Henderson, Chuck Liddell, Takanori Gomi and Mauricio Rua have all suffered legacy-ending defeats.
But for the UFC's sake as much as his own, Silva must win.
As long as he maintains his winning streak for the rest of his career, UFC fans can still hold up "The Spider" as one indisputable example of where the best MMA talent in the world lies.
It Maintains the Pound-for-Pound Status Quo
Ever since the fall of Fedor Emelianenko (and possibly way before then), Anderson Silva has been recognized as the pound-for-pound best fighter in the world.
Anyone can argue where Jon Jones, Georges St-Pierre, Jose Aldo or Junior dos Santos fits in that imaginary list, but just like the sun rising in the east, the rule of Silva being "No. 1" is an absolute truth and unshakable fact of nature.
Moving up a weight class to beat Stephan Bonnar will just solidify that idea even more.
If you subscribe to the concept of Silva as the pound-for-pound king, that's a big reason to cheer him on.
Stephan Bonnar Doesn't Deserve to Win
There's a reason that Forrest Griffin became UFC light heavyweight champion and Stephan Bonnar never put together a meaningful winning streak in almost 11 years of fighting.
Griffin trained himself to death for years after The Ultimate Fighter's first season, trying to fill gaps in his technique with toughness and gumption.
As The MMA Encyclopedia notes, Bonnar was more likely to be seen in clubs than the gym, preferring to spend his time "hanging out with porn stars."
Bonnar is a gatekeeper among gatekeepers, never doing enough to beat more than the average, middling light heavyweight—and a man like that shouldn't be able to defeat Anderson Silva.
It May Force Silva to Fight Jon Jones or GSP
Once UFC 153 is over, pickings will be slim for Anderson Silva's future prospects.
Although Michael Bisping and Chris Weidman desperately want a crack at the champion before he retires, those fights are unlikely to happen as Silva winds down his career. But if he doesn't fight them, who's left?
Jon Jones and Georges St-Pierre.
Those are the two superfights that MMA fans have been frothing at the mouth over, and that drum beats louder and louder with every notch on Silva's gun.
Once he beats Stephan Bonnar, who's to say that a much bigger, more lucrative once-in-a-lifetime matchup with one of the sport's pound-for-pound greats is completely out of the picture?
You Know How "Rocky" Really Ends
Almost every UFC 153 preview wants to tell you that if Stephan Bonnar somehow defeats Anderson Silva, it's a real-life Rocky story in the making.
Someone should tell them Rocky Balboa lost.
Yes, the "Italian Stallion" went the distance, put up a fantastic fight and got beat to Hell and back. But he still lost.
If you know the Rocky metaphor is supposed to work, you know better than to buy into the hackneyed marketing buzz that the UFC has been pushing for the last two weeks.
You know better, and that's why you're cheering for Silva.
Like the new article format? Send us feedback!