In principle, defeating Anderson Silva should be no different than beating any other fighter. Superior striking, athleticism, grappling or fight IQ should, if only for one evening, vanquish the middleweight king from his throne.
But it never seems to work out that way, does it?
Elite strikers and world-renowned submission specialists have all fallen short of handing Silva his first loss inside the Octagon. Over the course of 16 consecutive victories, "The Spider" has built enough momentum to be nigh unstoppable.
He approaches the cage with stone-cold composure, fights at his own pace and puts his opponents out of their misery in his own unique way. Elusive and enigmatic regardless of opponent or setting, he has risen to heights that some have clawed at but none have definitively reached.
In this fights, Silva has always managed to showcase the chasm of skill that separates him from ordinary fighters. The UFC has even created a tribute to his accomplishments.
At UFC 162, Chris Weidman will attempt to succeed where 14 of his predecessors have failed. Seemingly unfazed by the size of his undertaking, the young contender has gone so far as to demand Silva's respect. Perhaps such a confident approach is the only one to take.
It certainly isn't novel, though.
Silva's previous matchups have featured confident, bold and brash contenders, and in the end, they all fell by the wayside.
But the reasons for Silva's success aren't as mysterious as the athlete who drives them. Although UFC president Dana White has previously likened his relations with Silva to something like "dealing with an artist," the actual artistry is far more defined.
His brush strokes are crisp and clear, and he prefers to paint only in red. Over the last seven years, Silva has turned the Octagon into his own canvas.
Let's examine the key factors that have enabled him to be so unstoppable in the UFC.