The knee was great, the Thai clinch divine, the triangle clutch superb, but the front kick to put away Vitor Belfort at UFC 126 is Anderson Silva's greatest career moment.
Belfort was considered Anderson Silva's most dangerous adversity to date. Fans and pundits alike believed “The Phenom” would be able to use his blitzing power to put real pressure on Silva, and possibly squash "The Spider" once and for all.
Vitor did try to pressure Silva. When that didn't work, he started to measure the champion up, looking for attack points. Anderson took the opportunity to land a kick that added a new move to every MMA strikers' repertoire in the process. When the kick landed, Belfort melted where he stood. Cool as you'd like, Silva walked over, stood above Belfort, threw a couple of strikes and then walked away champion once again.
Anderson's career has been filled with great moments. The kick to Vitor is career-defining beyond all others. It rewrote the stand-up game, it proved he had no equal in striking at his weight and it showed that even those who posed a real threat to him had very little to offer. That fight had anyone holding even the smallest shred of doubt finally throwing up their hands and stating, "Fine! He's the best ever."
Whether or not Silva will be victorious at UFC 162 is irrelevant to what we have recognized here. The Brazilian has forever cemented his legacy as one of the greatest ever to participate in the sport. It is possible we will never see another fighter like him.
- Defeating Dan Henderson
- Taking Yushin Okami's soul before he even entered the Octagon
- Running knee to Chael Sonnen's sternum in the rematch
- Putting himself against the cage against Stephan Bonnar