Too much Internet hype and not enough in-cage ability to back it up—that's the story of UFC 153 fighter Erick Silva, who was broken by perennial contender and relentless "grinder" Jon Fitch.
For some reason, MMA fans (specifically "hardcore" fans on Internet forums and message boards) love hyping up young, apparently gifted fighters to the nth degree—and nine times out of 10 these fighters don't live up to the hype. Sometimes they don't even live up to expectations that non-hyped, forgotten, low-level fighters have.
The list of would-be next big things is a long one.
Fighters like Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou, Brandon Vera, Charles Oliveira, Jimy Hettes, Alex Caceres, Houston Alexander, Denis Kang, Gerald Harris, Gesias Cavalcante, as well as dozens of others were all promised to deliver in a big way, yet most of them only delivered against low-level opponents and were decisively beaten when they faced their first true test.
And, after this loss, a lot of these overhyped Internet supermen faded away into nothing; they couldn't handle losing and they, apparently, couldn't handle winning against a decent opponent either.
Brandon Vera, for example, started his career off 8-0 against the likes of Justin Eilers and Mike Whitehead. He had a feather in his cap in the form of a TKO victory over an out-of-shape Frank Mir (after Mir had already suffered the consequences of his 2004 motorcycle accident) but faded when he faced former heavyweight champ Tim Sylvia.
After the loss to Sylvia, Vera never recovered.
After an 8-1 start, his record was a mediocre 4-5 (1 NC), beating the Keith Jardines of the world but losing to any top talent (as well as not-so-top talent like an ancient Randy Couture).
Erick Silva may just be another Brandon Vera—an upstart who looks brilliant against the infamous "guys without Wikipedia pages" but who, on his best day, isn't capable of beating anyone in the top 10.
However, we don't know this for sure yet. Silva is only 28 years old. As such, he has time to re-evaluate, rejuvenate and come back to the cage as a better fighter. It's that, or join the ignominious list of "next big things" who were only next on the chopping block and were only big on the regional circuit.