Anderson Silva vs. Stephan Bonnar: Each Fighters Defining MMA Moment
Both Anderson Silva and Stephan Bonnar entered the UFC with a bang. But since then, both of their careers have went down totally different paths.
Silva became the king of the middleweight division after wrecking Chris Leben in his UFC debut. He's yet to taste defeat in the Octagon and hasn't been challenged outside of his two fights with Chael Sonnen.
"The Spider" has grown so bored of defending his belt at times that he's stepped up a weight class. Despite fighting at a weight class 20 pounds heavier, Silva didn't miss a beat.
He'll jump up a weight class to meet Bonnar, who has made a career off his exciting fight with Forrest Griffin on the finale of The Ultimate Fighter season one. Since then, Bonnar has had an up and down career and appeared to be on the chopping block but has since won three-straight bouts.
Although the two men have taken separate paths to get to this point, both have had a moment in their MMA careers that has defined them forever.
This fight not only defined Stephan Bonnar's career but also that of MMA as a sport. The Ultimate Fighter reality series was a huge hit in its first season but needed something spectacular to close out the show on a high note.
Bonnar's war with Forrest Griffin was just that.
For 15 minutes the two men went back and forth at one another. It was an extremely entertaining fight that saw Griffin emerge as the winner. Despite losing, Bonnar was awarded a UFC contract as well for putting on a hell of a show.
This fight is one Bonnar will always be remembered for. It helped bring MMA boat loads of new fans and helped the sport grow. It also made Bonnar an instant star with MMA fans.
Bonnar vs. Griffin I is also widely regarded as the most important fight in MMA history.
It's really hard to pick a single moment that defines a career like the one Anderson Silva has had. He's done it all and beaten them all. How can you pick just one?
If you were talking in terms of his career at middleweight, I would have to say his defining moment came at UFC 117 when Silva was able to pull off a miraculous comeback against Chael Sonnen.
But if you wanted to talk about Silva's career as a whole, you'd have to pick his fight against Forrest Griffin at UFC 101. It's kind of funny both men have had their defining moments against Griffin, isn't it?
Although both made their defining moments against Griffin, they did so in different ways. While Stephan Bonnar's fight was a war of attrition with punches and kicks, Silva's battle was nothing short of a display of brilliance.
This fight is where you can really see Silva's physical gifts surpass that of any UFC fighter in history. We've seen guys in boxing be able to avoid punches with ease but never a MMA fighter. Silva did so and made it look like a routine sparring practice.
The ease in which Silva was able to avoid Griffin's punches was incredible. Perhaps even more impressive was Silva dropping Griffin for the final time with an arm punch while moving backwards.
Silva's performance was so shocking that it left Griffin, a former UFC champion, saying "no mas."