And the veteran delivered the most emphatic answer to them all in his impressive performance against Brian Stann in UFC on Fuel 8—knocking out the 32-year-old American in the second round and sending the crowd at the Saitama Super Arena near Tokyo into delirium.
The man known as "The Axe Murderer" delivered his answer to the retirement rumors and the doubts that he didn't have what it took to be a successful fighter anymore.
Both Silva and Stann would now suggest otherwise.
Data from FightMetric showed that the American Stann had been the more dominant fighter in the first round—landing 53 strikes to just 30 from Silva. The veteran had been knocked down on more than one occasion and had the wobbles at times throughout the fight.
But at 4:08 in the second round, Silva connected on a right hook to the ear of his opponent, sending him to the ground. He would then wrap up the fight with four hard strikes that would knock both Stann and the retirement rumors straight out of the building.
Silva commented after the fight on the likelihood that he will retire from the sport following the win—telling MMA Junkie that he's not planning on quitting just yet:
I feel really happy. I don't know what happens in Japan, but it makes me feel young. I'm happy to fight in Japan again.
I have the best moments in my life here, and today is one more. I feel the energy here, the energy of the Brazilian fans, the Japanese fans. I feel really happy to fight over here.
I'm fighting one fight at a time right now. I feel healthy. A couple of injuries are normal, you know? I know sooner or later I'm going to need to stop this job, but I'm happy for this feeling and this energy from my fans.
I'm so happy to make a show for the fans. I'm so glad to make my fans happy around the world. I had a dream before I retired to fight in Brazil and fight here. I'm so glad the UFC gave me the opportunity to fight one last time in Brazil and fight here.
I hope the UFC will give me a chance to come back here...
And with that, it seems that the calls for retirement have ended, for now.
Silva has a professional record of 35 wins, 12 losses a draw and a no contest, but like Kevin Iole from Yahoo! Sports says, the veteran is a "guy who cares more about bringing the fans from their seats than having his arm raised" at the end of a fight.
He did both in Tokyo this weekend, and as long as he continues to turn up to professional events, he'll continue to draw a huge following from around the world.
Silva proved that he still has the ability and talent to remain competitive in the UFC, and given he still loves the sport, he will surely not retire now. He's simply got too much left to give to the fans and to the sport as a whole to call it a career just yet.
Perhaps it's not time to say goodbye after all.
Should Wanderlei Silva retire after his win at UFC on Fuel 8?
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