Life for Antonio Silva is hard. He has received a generous ranking from the UFC (he is ranked fourth in the division), but he still does not have his feet firmly planted on the ground.
With a 2-2 record inside the Octagon, Silva has proven he can compete with the best in the heavyweight division, which isn’t saying much at this point in time. He defeated an injured Travis Browne (first-round TKO) and a watered-down Alistair Overeem (which was a fight Silva was losing until an Overeem mistake cost him the fight).
Both of his loses came at the hands of heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez (one in a title fight). His loses were not close, as Velasquez made Silva look as if he didn’t belong in the same area code as him.
Without any hopes of a title shot anytime in the near future, Silva basically reached gatekeeper status in a division that is in short supply of title contenders. This weekend, he will fight a heavyweight hopeful in Mark Hunt. Hunt was riding a four-fight win streak prior to his recent loss to Junior dos Santos.
Even in victory, Silva will be no closer to achieving a second shot at the title than he was prior to the fight. Silva has plenty of talent, power and size to hold his own in the division. The only problem with him is his speed. The man is just too slow.
Velasquez blitzed Silva during both of their fights. Silva looked like a deer in headlights. Now, not every man will attempt to blitz Silva, and those are the fights Silva can win. Against the likes of Velasquez, dos Santos and maybe even a Josh Barnett (who would also use pressure against Silva), Silva would not stand a chance.
Silva will always be ranked near the top of the UFC heavyweight division. He may be able to hold off the Brendan Schaubs, Shawn Jordans and Ben Rothwells of the world, but will always fall to true contenders. It’s doubtful Silva will ever achieve ultimate greatness or win a title, but he will fend off any unworthy opponents who attempt to stake claim to a title shot.