Fedor Emelianenko's loss last night to Dan Henderson in a Strikeforce bout has led to some questioning of the true greatest MMA fighter of all-time. The man who could combat Fedor for this title? UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva.
Silva has done a lot throughout his career and has seemingly been atop the pound-for-pound rankings—and rightfully so—for a long time.
Silva has brought to something to every fight. Love him or hate him, his striking has run rampant on the UFC since he first stepped foot inside the Octagon and knocked out The Ultimate Fighter 1 alum Chris Leben in the first round.
This is not a knock at Fedor. He still is the greatest heavyweight of all-time, but here are five reasons making the claim that Silva is the greatest fighter of all-time in MMA.
Anderson Silva's last loss came in January of 2006 against Yushin Okami. Silva delivered an illegal upkick and knocked out Okami, which led to Silva's disqualification.
It seems almost everyone but Chael Sonnen seems to think Silva was winning or deserves the win—even Yushin Okami. So this win streak could be a little longer if it wasn't for the disqualification.
Anyway, Fedor Emelianenko has a long winning streak where he went 27 straight fights without a loss, but some will argue that was against lesser competition.
Regardless if it was against lesser competition, it's still 27 straight wins. Thing is, Silva has that nice winning streak too. Outside of his first round knockout of Tony Fryklund, Silva has 13 straight wins inside the UFC, with eight of them coming in title defenses of his UFC belt.
It took Silva just one fight to earn a shot at Rich Franklin for his UFC middleweight belt. And in the first round of that fight at UFC 64, Silva earned the victory and the knockout.
Since then, Silva has made eight title defenses against the likes of Dan Henderson, Rich Franklin, Demian Maia, Nate Marquardt, Thales Leites, Patrick Cote, Chael Sonnen and Vitor Belfort. Silva has systematically almost cleaned out the entire middleweight division. Yes, I realize there are some up-and-comers who he hasn't faced yet.
In these eight title defenses, Silva has earned "Fight of the Night" bonuses twice, "Knockout of the Night" bonuses twice and "Submission of the Night" bonuses twice.
Out of Silva's 30 wins in MMA, 23 have come from early stoppages (17 knockouts and six submissions).
When you watch a Silva fight, you know what to expect from him: a good display of striking and striking defense. If you watch a fight like his against Forrest Griffin, it makes Griffin look like hes fighting in a pool of molasses and makes Silva look like "The One."
Silva has dominated most of his title challengers too (and for you Chael Sonnen fans, yes, except his fight with Sonnen).
Only three fighters have taken Silva to the fifth round in the Octagon, and only two have taken him the distance. Those two fights—Demian Maia and Thales Leites—Silva avoided going to the ground with his opponent and was picking them apart on their feet.
When you think of someone dominating inside the cage in MMA, the first person that comes to mind should be Silva.
Let us just take a look at the names Silva has victories over:
- Forrest Griffin
- Chael Sonnen
- Dan Henderson
- Rich Franklin (Twice)
- Demian Maia
- Nate Marquardt
That list can go on a little bit more, but it is a great list of names. Franklin, Griffin and Henderson have all been at some point a champion of a major organization.
The thing that sticks out about those wins over that trio of former champions? In those four fights, Silva has stopped them within the first two rounds of the fight. Three knockouts and one submission victory define those wins.
Silva can boast something Fedor technically can't, and that is wins in two different weight classes.
Silva has come up to light heavyweight to beat former UFC light heavyweight champion Forrest Griffin and James Irvin.
Spider Silva has also fought at less than 185 lbs. in different weight classes. Silva was the Shooto middleweight champion at 168 lbs. In order to win the Shooto belt, Silva ended Hayato Sakurai's 20 fight unbeaten streak.