Many pundits forget how Chael Sonnen produced the proverbial blueprint needed to dethrone pound-for-pound kingpin Anderson Silva in their first middleweight title fight at UFC 117 in August 2010.
That’s probably because Silva made that performance an afterthought and solidified his status as the sport’s top pound-for-pound fighter when he finished Vitor Belfort, Yushin Okami, Sonnen and Stephan Bonnar in succession following his Hail Mary triangle armbar on Sonnen late in the fifth round at UFC 117.
There also aren’t many experts chattering about how Sonnen dominated Silva in the first round of their second title fight at UFC 148 in July, and rightfully so. After all, Silva stormed back and smashed Sonnen in spectacular fashion, and at that point, that was all that mattered.
But the bullseye that’s been lingering around Anderson Silva’s back since he won the belt in 2006 has recently started to come into focus. Fighters who’ve been trained properly and who possess the physical and intellectual ingredients to challenge a legend like “The Spider” are lurking in the shadows.
Here’s a look at five fighters who possess all the required tools to knock off Silva, a man who hasn’t tasted defeat in 16 UFC fights.