mma / Columns

Anderson Silva, Lifetime Greatness, and Saturday Sadness

February 11, 2017 | Posted by Jeremy Lambert

Anderson Silva is great. He’s the greatest fighter of all-time. The only people who don’t agree are the people who think Mad Men is an exciting show. It’s a boring show. It’s good. But it’s boring.

Silva’s greatness was in the cage and beyond. He’s the most amazing and exciting striker ever, and so much more.

When you heard “It’s dark…and hell is hot” you knew that you were about to witness something special. When you saw those yellow and black tights bouncing down the walk way, you knew something magic was about to happen. When Silva calmly crawled into the octagon and backed into the fencing, you knew he was about to ruin some man’s night.

Anderson’s troll game was on another level. He never gets credit for being a great trash talker, but he was a great trash talker. He extended his hand to help up Forrest Griffin after knocking him down. He fought an entire fight with his back against the cage. On purpose. And won. He asked Demian Maia, “where is your jiu-jitsu now, playboy?” He called Dana White after UFC 151 was cancelled and asked if he could somehow save the event.

He did things that you simply shouldn’t be able to do in a fight. You shouldn’t be able to drop your hands in a fist fight and still knockout your opponent. He didn’t fight safe. He didn’t fight smart. He fought better. He did things that others were too afraid to try, because he knew that he was better than the man standing across from him. He created his own rules. And it worked for many years. Until it didn’t.

Silva’s downfall was going to happen eventually. There’s only so many times you can throw logic out the window and get away with it. You get older, you get slower. A fighter’s downfall happens quick, and is usually painful. You don’t see them slowly lose that first step or that fastball. You see them unconscious.

Anderson Silva vs. Derek Brunson is an odd fight. Brunson is a mid-level middleweight that will likely never be champion. Prime Anderson would have beat this guy with one arm tied behind his back.

But this isn’t prime Anderson. This is a 41-year-old Anderson Silva who has been competing professionally in combat sports for 20 years. The movement isn’t there, the reflexes aren’t there, the passion doesn’t even look like it’s there. This is an Anderson Silva who is still fighting because it’s the only thing he knows. It’s the only thing he’s known for half his life, and it’s something he can’t quit. He’s not doing it because he loves it anymore. He’s doing it because he doesn’t know how to do anything else.

Watching this Anderson lose to a guy like Brunson feels wrong. If you look at any legend in MMA, a lot of them have those “That guy beat him?” losses at the end of their careers. Ovince Saint Preux, Chris Leben, Brendan Schaub, and Stefan Struve all have wins over legends. None of those fighters are very good.

It’s weird how the UFC books their legends. Some are matched with former champions so as to protect their legacy to a certain extent. Others are used to put over a young fighter that the company may have hopes for. And then there are those that are booked to fight known average fighters.

Those are the saddest cases. Watching Anderson Silva lose to Derek Brunson will just be a sad reminder of what he was, and what he is. It’s like rooting for a guy in a different sport for eight years, seeing that guy leave, and then watching a completely different guy torture the team you still love.

Man, Saturday is going to suck.

Be miserable with me on Saturday @jeremylambert88