Before UFC 126 last night, fans were fairly split on the main event—one half believing that Anderson Silva would beat Vitor Belfort, and others believing that Vitor would "shock the world."
I had my doubts of Vitor initially, and I've even stated recently that I would've considered it more of an upset if Vitor was beat by Silva Eventuall, though, I settled on the champ.
For about the first two to three minutes of the fight, very little happened outside of a leg kick from Vitor and what appeared to be a short shot from Vitor that had Silva on his back for a few seconds.
The one takedown of the fight was just a flash and did little to harm Silva.
For a while, many people thought that perhaps the fight was doomed to be another staring contest. Then, something different happened.
Usually, a front kick is a body kick, and as Joe Rogan pointed out, the front kick does little outside of pushing the opponent back when it hits the face. Hence the term, "push kick."
Silva didn't push Vitor back with the kick—he took Vitor's legs out from under him with that one kick to the face and only got two shots in before Mario Yamasaki stepped in.
The way Silva shocked the world by proving that even a front kick can produce a "legendary KO" says something that may prove controversial.
When Rogan said that Silva became "the best there's ever been" in MMA, he wasn't just saying that because Silva's a Zuffa-brand champion.
He said it because just as people say Georges St-Pierre is arguably the greatest ever; just as people still say Fedor Emelianenko is the greatest ever; and just as a plethora of guys from Randy Couture to Royce Gracie to even BJ Penn and Matt Hughes have all been called the greatest ever, the same is true—or at least the argument can be made—for The Spider.
I mean, let's not kid ourselves here: If you went for Thales Leites or Demian Maia or even Patrick Cote against Silva, it's no secret—you're just not an Anderson Silva fan, and that's perfectly fine, but keep in mind of one thing:
Of those gentlemen, all with BJJ experience of their own, the only person who truly had much of a shot to actually submit Silva was Maia.
Leites proved why sometimes the teammate-vs-teammate fight is a bad idea, and Cote did his best, but he put Silva in no real danger before he blew his knee out in round three.
Travis Lutter came in heavy, but he was one of the first guys to nearly finish Silva, and Rich Franklin gave Silva a tough outing himself.
Of course Nate Marquardt suffered a similar fate to Belfort, albeit a fate by TKO, and let's not even revisit the Chael Sonnen fight, because we all know there's a huge asterisk on those four and a half rounds.
The point is that out of everyone that Anderson Silva's faced in his UFC run—and even in his career when he fought guys like Hayato Sakurai and a prime Carlos Newton, among others—there are few guys that have come as close as he has in taking mystique away in the fight.
Nothing's wrong with that—heck, Andrei Arlovski almost finished Fedor, Gabriel Gonzaga head-kicked Cro Cop, and Matt Serra finished St-Pierre off in Houston. Remember, even Silva's tapped out twice.
Yet, in today's MMA World, with its "what've you done for melately?" mentality, it's tough to stake much of a case against the argument that Anderson Silva is the greatest ever.
Every time you think he's ready to be destroyed, he brings out more destruction than ever.
Every time you think you know how he can win a fight, he wins the fight—but in a way that completely differs from how you saw him winning.
He's unpredictable, he's untouchable, and as for his status as a fighter, you have to admit:
As far as being the greatest ever, pound-for-pound or otherwise, Anderson Silva is undeniable.