In the world of combat sports, the greats often don’t get the opportunity to go out on top. It would seem like a cruel twist of fate for one of the greatest MMA fighters ever to have what could very well be his final fight remembered for him sustaining a gruesome leg injury. That could conceivably be the case for legendary former UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva.
Silva saw his effort to regain his title end in a ghastly fashion at UFC 168 in round two of his rematch against unbeaten champion Chris Weidman when he suffered a broken leg when Weidman checked a leg kick. Emergency surgery was deemed a success, and the recovery time will be in the neighborhood of 3-6 months.
At the age of 38, and having produced one of the greatest UFC careers of all-time, will Silva have the drive to return to the Octagon and would he ever be the same?
Silva has had so many memorable performances during his career. A dominant victory over Rich Franklin at UFC 64 began a title reign that lasted from 2006 to 2013. He registered a huge submission win in a showdown at UFC 82 against former Pride champion Dan Henderson.
Silva recorded one of the greatest come-from-behind submission wins ever to retain his belt at UFC 117 against bitter rival Chael Sonnen, and also possesses one of the most spectacular finishes ever with his front face kick that knocked Vitor Belfort senseless at UFC 126.
Trying to determine his most impressive career efforts is no easy chore, because there have been so many dominant efforts. His striking skills, unorthodox style and his ability to simply overwhelm so many great fighters was a sight to behold.
However, the two fights against the talented Weidman simply didn’t go as planned for “The Spider”. His dominant title reign ended with a shocking knockout loss as he clowned at UFC 162, and now this. While the ending of the highly-anticipated rematch was as unfortunate as anyone could have imagined, in the action that did take place, it seemed as though Weidman was well on his way to another decisive victory.
It appears as though the changing of the guard is in full effect in the 185-pound division. Weidman is clearly a confident, talented, unbeaten champion who is only going to get better as a number of fresh challenges await.
As for Silva, if this is indeed the end, it is a truly miserable way for such a decorated career to end. While his memorable performances made him an Octagon legend, it appears as though a graphic image at UFC 168 will be the last one that fans may be left with. It’s possible that Silva could return, but it’s clear his days as one of the most dominant UFC champions ever are behind him.
Rick LaFitte is an MMA Writer for Rant Sports