Anderson Silva was the most decorated champion in MMA history just two fights ago. He was arguably the most unbeatable man in bare feet during a record setting six-year stretch.
Chael Sonnen came close to dethroning the king, but Silva pulled off a comeback that would have made the Seattle Seahawks bow down in praise.
The former UFC middleweight champ was essentially a living mythical hero. He dominated nearly every foe with the greatest of ease, seemingly toying with them as though he was moving in fast forward and they were in super slomo.
Remember when he jumped a weight class and knocked Forrest Griffin, a former UFC light heavyweight champ, out cold with a retreating right jab? It was like a video game.
Stephan Bonnar said it was like “being in the Matrix” when he was blasted by Silva. “The Spider” saw everything coming from a mile away, and bob and weaved as though Bonnar’s haymakers were nothing more than gusts of insignificant wind.
Then came Chris Weidman. Silva showcased the same showboating antics that became entrenched in his game at UFC 162, but this time found himself unconscious on the canvas with a left hook he didn’t think Weidman had in his arsenal.
That was a lucky punch, they said. That’s why UFC president Dana White arranged an immediate rematch. Then Silva snapped his left shin in two (Please see: Picture above) and hasn’t been seen ever since.
That was a fluke, they said.
Coming off back-to-back losses and a 13-month layoff, Silva’s aura of invincibility is gone. Will Silva be a shell of himself when he steps in the cage against Nick Diaz this Saturday at UFC 183? Will Silva be scared to pull the trigger on his lethal left kicks given what happened the last time he did it in a real fight?
He claims he won’t, but nobody could blame him if he was.
Two things can happen this weekend in Las Vegas: Silva looks every bit his 39 years and gets pelted with the countless pepper punches that Diaz is famous for and loses in uneventful fashion. Silva would merely become a big name the UFC would use to promote future fight cards with at that point. He might even venture down the same past-his-prime path as Mauricio “Shogun” Rua and Dan Henderson and no longer headline shows.
Or, Silva turns back the hands of time, something only living mythical heroes are capable of doing, blasts Diaz in highlight reel fashion to advance to a title tilt that White has already promised him. He will then finish Weidman to avenge his previous losses or jam his other foot in Vitor Belfort’s mouth, depending on who leaves UFC 184 with the middleweight hardware, to solidify his status as MMA’s GOAT.
Both scenarios are possible and I have no idea which has the better chance of happening. Either way, it will be fun to watch the final chapters of Silva’s illustrious career unfold.
Silva’s story resumes at UFC 183.