Anderson Silva: 10 Reasons Why the Spider Is the Pound for Pound King of MMA
Anderson Silva is a rare breed of fighter. So rare, in fact, that there may not be another like him.
He is an unorthodox, but expert, muay-thai striker who holds a yellow rope in Capoeira and black belts in Jiu-Jitsu, Judo and Tae Kwon Do.
At 35-years-old, the polarizing Brazilian finds himself at the top of his sport. He owns a professional record of 28-4 with 16 victories coming by way of knockout.
Silva is the current UFC middleweight champion and he has held his title for a longer period than any other champion in the promotion's history.
He has also soundly defeated two contenders in the UFC's Light Heavyweight division and could one day fight for that belt as well.
Silva is currently listed as the number one pound for pound fighter in the world by Yahoo. Sherdog.com has him second.
What follows are 10 reasons why Anderson "Spider" Silva is the reigning king of MMA.
1. Fedor's Time Has Come to an End
With his loss to Antonio Silva in the first round of the eight man Strikeforce Heavweight Grand Prix, Fedor Emelianenko confirmed the fact that he is now on the downside of his career.
The loss marked The Last Emperor's second straight defeat after being forced to tap out 1:09 into his bout with Fabricio Werdum last June.
Fedor's latest loss ended as a TKO (Doctor Stoppage) after the second round. Antonio Silva took Fedor down, gained mount, and punched Fedor's face until his eye swelled shut.
Following the beatdown, Fedor was clearly disappointed and even contemplated retirement. He has since rescinded those claims, but it remains to be seen who his next opponent will be.
Fedor is still considered by many to be the greatest mixed martial arts practitioner that the world has ever seen. After all, prior to his to last two fights Fedor hadn't lost since December of 2000; in just the fifth fight of his career.
From April 6, 2001 until November 7, 2009, Emelianenko rattled off 27 consecutive victories. Of those fights, 21 failed to reach a full-time decision and ended by knockout, submission, or TKO.
Fedor was considered the best pound for pound fighter in the world during most of that stretch. Now that his run has come to an end, however, it's time for someone else to step up and claim his throne.
2. He Has a Few Impressive Streaks of His Own
Anderson Silva's last loss came in January of 2006 against Yushin Okami.
Silva, who was unclear on the rules of the bout, threw a kick to Okami's head while his opponent had a knee on the ground. This resulted in an automatic disqualification.
His last legitimate loss was to Ryo Chonan in December of 2004. Silva was dominating the fight into the third round until Chonan threw a brilliant flying scissor heel hook.
He pulled off the maneuver flawlessly and forced the Spider to tap.
After losing to Okami, Silva fought one more time in Cage Rage before making his UFC debut against Chris Leben at Ultimate Fight Night 5.
He dispatched of the Crippler via knockout just 49 seconds into the fight. A barrage of punches from Silva culminated with a giant knee that ended Leben's night.
Dana White was clearly impressed by Silva's skills and awarded him a title shot against the popular Rich Franklin at UFC 64. Silva was the new champion less than three minutes after the opening bell.
Since winning the UFC middleweight championship, Silva has fought 11 fights and won them all. His 13 victories in the UFC are a record.
Silva holds notable victories over Dan Henderson, Vitor Belfort, Rich Franklin (2x) and Forrest Griffin.
Georges St. Pierre might be the only fighter on the planet who stands a chance against the Spider.
3. Georges St. Pierre Wants No Part of Him
Georges St. Pierre has already defeated every top 170 pound fighter in the world. Since losing his title in an upset to Ultimate Fighter winner Matt Serra, GSP has rolled off an impressive streak of victories.
To climb back to the top, St. Pierre first defeated Josh Koscheck and then Matt Hughes in an interim title fight.
Since registering a TKO in his re-match against Serra in the Welterweight unification bout, St. Pierre has defended his title against Jon Fitch, B.J. Penn, Thiago Alves, Dan Hardy and Josh Koscheck.
That is an impressive list of victories. However, Anderson Silva is a much bigger and better opponent than any of those fighters. He would be a handful for St. Pierre to deal with.
In fact, GSP has stated in the past that by taking a fight with Silva it would require such a change in training and style that it would necessitate his full-time move to the middleweight division.
For now, St. Pierre is content with defending his welterweight championship. His sixth defense will come in April against Jake Shields.
If he gets over that hump, the proposed super fight between St. Pierre and Silva might finally gain legs.
Until that happens, both fighters will likely continue to dominate at their respective weight classes.
4. He Can Finish Fights Any Way He Wants
Of Anderson Silva's 28 career victories, just seven have come by decision. The Spider has finished the fight early in three out of every four wins.
16 of those victories have come by knockout, TKO, or doctor stoppage. Five have come by submission.
In the UFC, Silva has won knockout of the night three times and submission of the night twice.
In his last two fights, Anderson has scored an impressive up-kick knockout of Vitor Belfort and he submitted Chael Sonnen in the fifth round of a fight he was probably losing.
Prior to these exciting victories, however, Silva bookended a strange knockout of Forrest Griffin with two disappointing contests that saw the champion both mocking and refusing to engage what he believed to be far inferior opponents; Demian Maia and Thales Leites.
Silva scored a unanimous decision victory in both contests, but was loudly booed by the crowd and referred to by Dana White as an embarrassment.
The UFC's controversial president even refused to place the title belt around his record setting champion.
But, with the way Silva attacked Belfort at UFC 126, it appears as if these issues are behind him.
The Spider holds black belts in Tae-Kwon Do, Judo and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. He also holds a yellow rope in capoeira, but his greatest strength is probably his Muay-Thai.
Anderson Silva is one of, if not the most versatile fighter on the planet. He can beat you quickly in a variety of ways as his 15 first round stoppages would indicate.
5. He Defends His Belts
To be a champion, you have to defend your belt.
Perhaps no MMA fighter has defended his belts better than Anderson Silva has. The Spider owns the records for most consecutive and most successful title defenses, with eight.
Prior to joining the UFC, Silva was the Cage Rage World Middleweight Champion. After defeating Lee Murray, the Spider successfully passed all three challengers he faced.
Earlier in his career Silva defeated Hayato Sakurai to win the Shooto middleweight title in just his sixth professional fight. He immediately left the organization and the title was vacated.
Anderson Silva has never lost a title fight. When a championship belt has been at stake, The Spider owns a perfect 14-0 record.
He is 11-0 in defenses, and only two of those contests have gone to decision.
Silva has also held a UFC title for a longer period than any other champion.
The man gets up for big fights and he is a fearless competitor. Whoever ends Anderson Silva's run is going to have to be a special fighter.
6. He Deserves a Chance to Hold Two
With the exception of Anderson Silva, the talent in the middleweight division for MMA is relatively thin.
Other than Yushin Okami and strikeforce middleweight champion Ronaldo Souza, Silva has already defeated any middleweight competitor thats worth a damn.
As a result, he's taken on new challenges by moving up a weight class to Light Heavyweight and the deep 205 pound division.
In just two fights, against James "Sandman" Irvin and former Light Heavyweight Champion Forrest Griffin, Silva has looked too fast and athletic for his opponents.
Surely there are better competitors in the weight-class and if the superfight with George St. Pierre never works out it will be interesting to see if Silva moves up once again.
Based on his resume alone Silva should already be near the top of the list for Light Heavyweight contenders. Current champion Mauricio "Shogun" Rua will square off with UFC's top prospect Jon "Bones" Jones in March.
A lot of fans think Anderson Silva should face the winner.
In boxing, because the weight classes encompass less range, it's not uncommon for a fighter to hold two or more titles for different classes. In MMA, the practice is almost unheard of.
20 pounds is an enormous difference in weight, and size. Based on the above picture, it's pretty clear that 205 is a much more natural weight for the Brazillian.
We already know Anderson Silva can be a dangerous fighter when he moves up. He has earned the chance to fight for a second belt and deserves his shot if he wants it.
7. His Elusiveness
If there is one consistency about Anderson Silva's style from one fight to the next, it is his superior ability to counter-attack.
Silva is a tough man to hit. He is extremely elusive, much like his namesake of Spider would suggest.
Silva trains his reflexes by dodging handballs which are thrown at him from short distances. If you can dodge a wrench you can dodge a ball.
In Silva's case, if you can dodge a ball, you can dodge dangerous punches coming at your face.
Much like how Floyd Mayweather Jr. has used a defense first mentality to dominate the world of boxing, Anderson Silva consistently breaks down his opponents by avoiding taking damage.
As the fight goes on, a frustrated opponent will begin to open himself up in an effort to finally land something on Silva. Once Anderson has lured you into his trap, the fight is all but over.
Anderson Silva is an incredible fighter because he counter attacks you to death. The fight seems to move in slow motion for him to the point where he can pick his spots and do the exact opposite of whatever his opponent has just tried.
The best example might be Silva's knockout of James Irvin. "The Sandman" attempted a kick to Silva's midsection which Anderson caught, and in one motion he sent a crushing right hand into Irvin's unprotected and surprised face, ending the fight at 1:01 of the first round.
Defense creates offense. That's the Spider's mentality.
8. His Unorthodox Striking
There is not another striker like Anderson Silva on the planet, let alone in the world of MMA.
The man comes from all-angles. He is a lanky blur of fists, knees, elbows and feet. He has no reservations about throwing any strike at any time, no matter how unorthodox.
Silva also possesses perhaps the most vicious Muay-Thai clinch in the business. Once he's got the plum around your neck, it's probably game over.
Silva's grip is overpowering, and he throws devastating and alternating rounds of knees and kicks to the face and body of his opponent.
Anderson Silva prides himself on his unique, lightning quick combinations.
He feels as if he posseses the mere boxing ability to hang with Roy Jones Jr. in a ring. In MMA, however, Silva gets to incorporate things like surprise back elbows into his striking.
Opponents have no idea what Anderson Silva is going to throw next. The real beauty of it is, he might not either.
9. His Ability on His Back
Getting a submission off of your back is perhaps the toughest way to finish a fight.
Anderson Silva isn't a great functional wrestler. In fact, relatively speaking, wrestling might be the Spider's one weakness. But Silva is still a black belt in Brazlian Jiu-Jitsu.
As a result, you have to be very careful when fighting for position with Silva on the ground. For 23 minutes, Chael Sonnen used his wrestling to keep Anderson Silva off balance.
Sonnen came as close as anyone recently has to bringing down the long-reigning champion. He led on all three judges scorecards, and hadn't lost a point heading into the fifth and final round.
He once again found himself on top of Silva despite it being in his best interest to stay away. The mistake proved costly and Silva turned a failed triangle choke into a triangle arm-bar for the win.
Anderson Silva has the rare ability to lose every single round and still win the fight. Sure, it isn't the reccomended path to success, but a win still counts the same no matter how it is accomplished.
Anderson Silva is as dangerous lying on his back as he is standing on his feet. He only owns five submission victories in his career, but much of that has to do with his preference for knocking people out instead.
10. He Can Groove
When you're the best fighter in the world and one of the toughest people on the planet, you can dance any-time you damn well please.
Anderson Silva dances while he's training and he dances on his way into the octagon. He even dances during the fight while you're trying to hit him.
He'll also dance over and around you as lie on your back, flat on the canvas, wondering what the hell just happened.
Any time Anderson Silva fights, it looks at least as if he's having fun. Silva is so talented that this sport sometimes appears to be a joke for him.
Silva's attitude draws ire from even his tamest critics. For his fans, it just makes the experience that much better.
At the end of the day this is still a sport. It is a fighting sport, but at its core it is meant to be fun for fans and competitors alike.
Don't hate the guy for trying to enjoy what he does.
If Silva wants to do the electric shuffle while punching in faces, I have no problem with that.
Should his antics ever cost him a fight, however, it would likely serve as his unfortunate legacy.