With his legacy cemented... Anderson Silva is one win away from a title shot
While at the latter stages of his fighting career, mixed martial arts legend Anderson Silva is one win away from a title shot.
The word legend is used very loosely by sports fans when comparing athletes from different eras and even in different sports.
We just witnessed Tom Brady win another Super Bowl in his early 40’s and is considered by many as the greatest quarterback of all time and comparisons to other athletes in the late stages of their careers, such a boxing legend Manny Pacquiao, began before the final whistle had even blown.
MMA is no different and while the fringe sport is still rather young compared to other mainstream sports, its popularity and mainstream acceptance continues to rise, and the question of who is the greatest fighter of all time still consumes fight fans everyday.
Anderson Silva (34-8) is a safe bet to be one of the most frequent answers given when this argument ensues within the MMA community and it’s well deserved.
Silva, 43, still holds the record for the longest title reign in UFC history and some of his highlight victories are among the most iconic images in the history of the sport.
The mastery of his skill set befuddled opponents and hypnotized fans and made Silva one of the most popular figures in combat sports.
A failed drug test after his fight against another fan favorite, Nick Diaz, hasn’t appeared to diminish the cult following of Silva as much as it has affected other fighters with a past history of performance enhancing drug use.
When an iconic fighter comes along such as Silva, it’s natural for others to study and somewhat worship the style and skills of this competitor in hopes to somewhat replicate the success of that legendary figure.
It’s a part of sports tradition as much as the young gun quarterback aiming to take the starting position of the old wily veteran.
Kobe vs. Jordan. Lebron vs. Kobe. Young vs. Montana. You get the picture.
Fans love the comeback story and the drama that comes along when a “diminished” athlete is somehow able to postpone father time and capture previous glory for possibly the last time.
This is exactly what we have in the co-main event of UFC 234.
Israel Adesanya (15-0) has left no doubt that his style and skills were a product of his imitation and admiration of Silva.
Even the most casual fight fan can see the resemblance in their fighting style and it’s a very intriguing story line for this bout.
The young gun versus the old legend.
The UFC has high expectations for Adesanya as it looks to find another star to replace the inevitable end to Silva’s career and the Last Stylebender definitely fits the mold.
Adesanya, 29, was a top candidate for the fighter of the year category for most media sites as he finished 2018 a perfect 4-0 and streaked up the rankings in the middleweight division.
UFC president, Dana White, has stated the winner of this bout would be next in line for a title shot against the winner in the main event, which pits Robert Whittaker vs. Kelvin Gastelum.
You can take that statement with a grain of salt, but Silva believes a win secures that title shot.
Adesanya is the heavy betting favorite and most sense that Silva was only given the opportunity because of his name value and is being used as a stepping stone or sacrificial lamb for Adesanya, but wouldn’t it be fascinating if Silva somehow pulled off the upset?
We always acknowledge that the time for any athlete eventually comes to an end, but we also hold a small amount of hope to see the storybook ending that gives our sentimental favorites one last chance to bask in glory before riding off into the sunset and it’s doubtful anyone would be upset if somehow the Spider was able to turn back the clock….at least for one last time.