Arguably the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world, current UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva is expressing his thoughts on the direction that MMA is headed, and the Gracies can’t be too happy about, even if what he is saying is true. Silva feels that the days of dominating MMA by solely being a dominant Brazilian Jiu Jitsu fighter are over.
The topic first came up when Silva was asked about the UFC 88 match up between MMA legend Dan Henderson against BJJ wizard Rousimar Palhares. Out of Palhares’ eight professional MMA victories, he has submitted six of his opponents.
“I didn’t see the fight, but everybody said that Den Henderson was very superior, as I was expecting. (Palhares) is very young, has a lot of thing to go through in the sport and it was a good experience,” Silva told Tatame.com.
He later elaborated, stating that superior BJJ is no longer enough to be an elite MMA fighter. In fact, the days in which Royce Gracie dominated opponents twice his size because of his exceptional ground game are long gone.
“You have to train everything,” explained Silva. “People are wrong about MMA. The time when the Gracie’s supremacy was total, when Jiu-Jitsu was the most important, but Gracie’s time is past. That thing about the weak fights the strongest, everybody knows something, avoid the ground, defend a leg-lock, nobody is a fool nowadays.”
The always respectful Silva surely wasn’t trying to insult the first family of MMA, he was just expressing his opinion. However, he is right. MMA in 2008 has evolved into exactly what the sport’s name is, Mixed Martial Arts.
In this day and age, you have to be knowledgeable and well-rounded in all facets if you want to compete at the highest level. And currently, there is nobody that is competing at a level as high as Silva’s.
Silva, a BJJ specialist himself, concluded his thoughts by stating that his opinion may not mean much, perhaps not to insult the Gracies, “But who is Anderson Silva to say about it.”