Today, Anderson Silva is known as the greatest fighter in the world. He hasn't lost in the UFC yet and has racked up an impressive 16 straight wins.
He has defeated all kinds of challengers, including Chael Sonnen twice, former light heavyweight champion Forrest Griffin and the hard-hitting Vitor Belfort.
The Silva that we know today is unstoppable. He can beat the man opposite from him using his crisp striking or slick submissions. Whatever you can do, he can do it better. But he wasn't always known as this destructive terminator.
At one point, he was known as just another talented fighter who had some nice wins and a few losses to show in his MMA career. After knocking out Tony Fryklund with a nasty rising elbow, Silva was finally given the call to come fight for the Ultimate Fighting Championship.
The man welcoming him would be none other than Chris Leben, who was a fan favorite on the first season of The Ultimate Fighter. Leben was on a six-fight winning streak before his bout with Silva and believed that a seventh victory would be easy to attain.
Here's where Silva showed us a glimpse of what he was going to become. The fight started, and Leben charged out the gate. Silva kept his distance and fired off two quick jabs that snapped the Oregon native's head back.
Silva kept light on his feet and effortlessly moved out of the way of the oncoming attack. He shot off a powerful two-punch combination that wobbled "The Crippler." Leben tried to respond, but Silva was already out of range.
A few moments later, the former TUF competitor barrelled in again and ate the same punches as he had previously. Silva waited, and then cracked him with a head kick. Once Leben was up, the future champ unleashed a fast barrage of punches that dropped him down to the canvas.
"The Spider" followed his felled opponent down and began raining some good ground-and-pound as Leben struggled to rise. He finally got back to his feet and was backed against the cage by Silva.
The Brazilian sensed the fight was near its end and slapped a Thai plum around the neck of the dazed American and delivered a powerful knee to the forehead that put him down for good.
Silva had as good a debut as you could hope for. His striking was pinpoint, accurate and powerful. He picked his shots and avoided Leben's. His first UFC fight was a perfect ballet of violence. It was just a taste of what Silva was going to become.
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