Anderson Silva just may be a different breed of human being after all.
After suffering a devastating injury that could very well have ended his career, "The Spider" is not only on the road to recovery but appears to be traveling in the express lane. The former middleweight king broke two bones in his lower leg when Chris Weidman checked his kick during the second round of their rematch at UFC 168 back in December.
The pound-for-pound great lost his long-held title to the surging upstart five months earlier at UFC 162 and was on a mission to reclaim both his belt and status as the best 185-pound fighter on the planet.
Unfortunately for the legendary fighter, their second go around would end in much more devastating fashion, as the gruesome injury put his entire fighting future in jeopardy.
At 38 years old, recovering from a break of that nature was going to a lengthy rehabilitation period, and that scenario left many in the fight world wondering if the fighter widely regarded as the greatest of all time would ever compete inside the Octagon again.
Dr. Steve Sanders, the surgeon who performed the operation, spoke to the media two days after repairing Silva's leg and laid out what was going to be a lengthy recovery period for the former champion. The doctor detailed to the media in December a best-case scenario where Silva could do light workouts in three to six months and possibly return to normal fight training around the nine-month mark.
At the time of the press conference, Dr. Sanders wasn't willing to put an actual timeline on a return to competition but assured if that was to happen, it would take place much further down the line.
The doctor also stressed much of the recovery process depends on how the athlete responds to the treatment. Silva has spent a career seemingly possessing more abilities than the average man, and it appears those talents also extend to his recovery capabilities as well.
The muay thai machine is apparently recovering at an extraordinary level and is healing much quicker than expected. Over the last two weeks several pictures have surfaced of the Black House MMA leader training in the gym with his teammates, which is a remarkable feat with him being just eight weeks removed from the injury.
The pictures have bolstered talk of Silva making a much quicker return than previously expected, and on Saturday night, Dana White added substance to that particular theory. The UFC president informed the media in attendance at his UFC 170 post-fight scrum—Dave Doyle of MMA Fighting among them—that he had spoken with Silva's doctor and was told the former middleweight king could very well make his return before 2014 comes to an end:
The doctor came and showed me his bone tonight, and he said this is actually, crazy, look at all the bone (healing) he's had in eight weeks. Sometime you don't even have that over a couple years. It's pretty crazy. He could fight by the end of the year.
While White was excited about the progress Silva has been making and the possibility of the Brazilian striking phenom returning to the cage, he wasn't ready to look much further down the road. White knows there are plenty of obstacles that could still arise—with motivation to fight again being one of them—and he kept himself from projecting much further ahead in regard to Silva's future in the fight game, saying:
We'll see what happens. Anything could happen. He could hurt it in training, anything is possible. Or start training again and not feel the same. Anything can happen.
Duane Finley is a featured columnist for Bleacher Report. All quotes are obtained firsthand unless noted otherwise.