If "The Axe Murderer" Wanderlei Silva announced his retirement today, how would you remember him?
Would you remember him because of his aggressive offense? Would you remember the moments when throwing caution to the wind in an effort to fight with enthusiasm and excitement would pay more deterrence than dividends? Would fans remember him for his trilogy with Quinton "Rampage" Jackson, his fights with Rich Franklin or even his 45-second knockout loss to Vitor Belfort?
Styles always make fights, and Silva always came to fight. Therefore, allow Yours Truly to say that if Silva did retire on his UFC on Fuel TV 8 win over Brian Stann, he goes down in history for all the aforementioned moments and more because of what he brought to the dance every time.
Fans forget more often than not, but he brought more than the ability to stand in the pocket and throw bombs. Yes, the man could brawl with the best and always engaged his opponents, but he owns credit as both a mixed martial artist and a fighter due in large amounts to what he did with his kickboxing, his Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and especially his Muay Thai clinch.
As much as the brawls and the fire-fights in the pocket, Silva's Muay Thai clinch remains immortalized, and, in truth, it gets lost in the shuffle. When he rocked an opponent or fatigued them with his aggressive offense, he always found a moment to grab the head and work his knees.
Not only the physical aspect of Silva's game, but also the "kill or be killed" mentality payed many dividends to Silva's style and affected many of his bouts' outcomes. While he did get overaggressive when he needed to fight more technically, he always left his fans with nothing but great memories of the fight he brought.
Therefore, if Silva retired today, let the MMA world know that he will go down as one of the most intense and exciting fighters in the sport. As a matter of fact, let the MMA world know that Silva's mug should probably sit next to a dictionary definition of the word "fighter".
Why? Because Silva changed the game in his own respect and redefined the noun, proving he was a fighter in every sense and tense of the word.
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