Of all the questions asked about Anderson "The Spider" Silva, the question that fans sometimes ask more than anything else relates to whether or not the sport will ever see another athlete like the former UFC middleweight champion.
It seems straightforward as a question, but what do they mean by asking that?
Do they refer to Silva's head movement, or do they refer to his ability to fight most of his opponents without keeping his hands up?
Does "another Silva" reference a fighter who can pull off an amazing array of strikes at every turn, or a person who can make incredible things happen with his grappling skills?
Will another Silva mean another striker who attacks with pinpoint accuracy and destroys every opponent he faces with ease?
Even before Silva's UFC 162 knockout loss to Chris Weidman, fans questioned if another Silva would come down the pike, often pointing out the likes of Conor McGregor, Michael Page, Jon Jones and other unorthodox strikers as "the next Anderson Silva" simply because, like Silva, these men and others pulled off things that fans only see in video games.
Let's throw some water on this and light a brand new fire, though. No, we will not see another Silva in the sport.
Why won't we?
We won't because Silva represents an enigma that none can duplicate. His fighting style sometimes frustrated his fans more than his opponents once he resorted to the dancing and the showboating antics, but the head movement and precision with which he struck and countered opponents always wowed those who watched him compete, as only Silva could do.
As MMA evolves, so will its athletes, meaning that we will see athletes develop more complex striking styles than that of Silva.
Jones and McGregor appear on course to develop the prototype for tomorrow's strikers to emulate, but the striking styles that will develop in tomorrow's MMA may even surpass that of McGregor or Jones.
Most importantly of all, the strikers of tomorrow will look nothing like Silva's ballet of violence, and while Silva will go down as one of the best to ever strike, the evolution of the sport means we must see that for the next generation of athletes to really exist.
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