5 MMA Fighters That Could Squash 'The Spider'
Who can beat Anderson Silva?
This topic has been debated over and over again. Fighters that propose a great style match for the pound-for-pound kingpin have stepped up and been dispatched of like first class amateurs.
Like many great fighters, Silva has an aura that mesmerizes even his peers. His opponents tend to sit back and watch what he does instead of implementing their own game plans.
For example, Yushin Okami, a strong grappler, only made one half-hearted attempt at a takedown in his UFC 134 bout against Silva. He basically sat there as Silva danced on the outside and landed the inevitable punch that would end the fight.
After cleaning out all of the notable challengers in the middleweight division, Silva is left at a crossroads of rematches and jumping weight classes.
It's tough to see Silva lose at this point, but as long as he keeps fighting, his time will come to take the inevitable plunge like the other all-time greats before himself.
If given the opportunity, here are five fighters with the best chance to squash "The Spider."
Dan Henderson was defeated by Silva in March 2008, but he still poses some interesting problems for the UFC champ.
In the first bout, Henderson used his superior wrestling to take Silva down and grind out the first round.
While it wouldn't be the most exciting bout, Henderson had a great opportunity to coast to a unanimous decision if he stuck to his original game plan.
All of that quickly went out the window in round two when the former Pride champion abandoned his ground game for an opportunity to stand and trade with possibly the greatest striker of all time.
An MMA legend himself, Henderson won't stand in astonishment at anything Silva does. He will come to fight, and his world-class wrestling and heavy right hand makes for an interesting style match.
The only downer is Henderson's age. He has slowed down a bit in terms of movement and his ability to absorb damage.
Vitor Belfort is probably the only middleweight in the world with the ability to defeat Silva on the feet.
This isn't about having a "puncher's chance." Belfort has the technique and power to best the standup exchanges.
Before front kicking Belfort into the highlight reels at UFC 126, Silva was more cautious on the feet than he had been against any other opponent in the UFC.
There wasn't any dancing or awkward antics against Belfort, who has made a name off decapitating domes in his illustrious career.
Belfort rightfully commands a great deal of respect on the feet, and if given a second opportunity, he is certainly capable of putting on a better showing than he did at UFC 126.
People can say what they want about the excitement level of Jake Shields' grinding style, but he is a fighter that rarely deviates from his strengths.
To beat Silva, it's going to take a strong wrestler with great submission defense. When considering those things, Shields is about as good as it gets.
He is persistent with his takedowns, and he won't be swayed by a booing crowd.
There may not be a single fighter in the world more suited to beat Silva than Chael Sonnen.
At UFC 117, Sonnen took the champ to hell and back with a four and half round beating that won't be forgotten.
With left than two minutes left in the final round, Silva managed to catch the challenger in a triangle choke to finish the fight.
The late fight heroics left a bad taste in Sonnen's mouth, and he is chomping at the bit to get another shot.
In the first fight, Sonnen found success by never letting Silva get comfortable on the outside. He stayed in Silva's face throughout the entire bout with takedowns and well-timed punches.
Silva is more of a finesse fighter, and Sonnen was able to take him out of his element with an aggressive approach.
There are plenty of fighters, pundits and fans that believe Georges St-Pierre is the antidote to Silva.
Chael Sonnen recently voiced his opinion on a potential superfight between St-Pierre and Silva on Bruce Buffer's "It's Time" show on the Sherdog Radio Network.
"I think it would be one-sided, a very easy match for GSP."
Silva has struggled in the wrestling department throughout most of his career, and St-Pierre is the best wrestler in the sport.
His ability to explode in on a double or single from the outside will be the biggest problem for Silva.
Unlike some of Silva's opponents, St-Pierre won't have to use his striking to close the distance. He'll be able to throw some kicks, feint a few punches on the outside and explode in for the takedown.
On the ground, St-Pierre is a black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, and beyond that, he is a very intelligent fighter.
He has fended off submissions and sweep attempts from some of the best ground players in the world.
Some take offense to Sonnen's remarks, but he may not be far off. St-Pierre has the style to dominate Silva, and Silva has the style to dominate St-Pierre.
It will all come down to who is better prepared and implements their game plan on fight night, and when it comes to game planning, there is no better tandem than St-Pierre and trainer Greg Jackson.