UFC 168

Anderson Silva Breaks Leg vs. Chris Weidman, Is This the End for 'The Spider?'

Dec 28, 2013; Las Vegas, NV, USA;    Anderson Silva reacts after breaking his leg on a kick to Chris Weidman (not pictured) during their UFC middleweight championship bout at the MGM Grand Garden Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports
Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Spor
Steven RondinaFeatured ColumnistDecember 29, 2013

I won't yank you around or beat around the bush here.

Yes. 

This is the end of Anderson Silva's career.

The rumbles that "The Spider" was likely to retire following this fight, win or lose, were there beforehand. Chad Dundas summarized this perfectly not long ago:

The impression has been either that he’s very focused for this fight or that he’s completely over it...I’m going with the latter.

His loss to Weidman at UFC 162 was a call to action, a signal that it was time to redouble his efforts and get back to being the man who toyed with the middleweight division for all those years.

Maybe he did. Maybe he even did enough to dispatch young Weidman this weekend and reclaim his title, but you know what? I bet he discovered he didn’t like it as much anymore.

Really, why shouldn't he want to retire? He has climbed the highest mountains in MMA, and established himself as, almost indisputably, the greatest of all time in mixed martial arts. He literally had nothing left to prove except that he was better than Chris Weidman. Even that, though, is a small bullet on his list of accomplishments.

If he was likely to retire, after a win, he was far more likely to retire following a loss. Silva, though, didn't just lose. His leg snapped.

Let's say, hypothetically Silva chooses to return for some reason. 

Following the precedent of Corey Hill, who broke his leg in similar fashion at UFC: Fight for the Troops 1. Hill, at the time 30 years old, was out of commission for over a year. For an undermotivated, 38-year-old Anderson Silva, coming back in a year would require something just short of a miracle...assuming he even wants to.

Optimistically, Silva would be returning shortly after his 40th birthday. And what would likely be an 18-month recovery, he would almost certainly be looking at a completely different division and would find himself at least a fight away from a chance at the belt.

For a guy like Hill, who was relatively young, reliant on fighting for income and had a future ahead of him, the recovery was worth the effort. For a guy like Silva, though? Somebody who has been there, done that, and taken a few pictures?

Why bother building yourself back up to be torn back down by the rigors of this brutal sport?

So no, Anderson Silva is not returning to MMA. 

He leaves behind an almost unparalleled legacy and I think we can all agree that it would've been best if that legacy was just one fight shorter.

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