After a major display of dominance at UFC: Rio last Sunday, it wouldn’t be much of an argument to declare that UFC Middleweight Champion Anderson Silva is the sole best pound-for-pound fighter in the sport today.
The passing of Fedor’s time is already apparent, and Georges St. Pierre is nowhere near the finisher Anderson Silva is, so the only question looming in this long-running debate is this: what’s taking that Silva-GSP super fight so damn long? Still, that’s a case we’re gonna have to tackle when the time actually comes.
Today’s case is Anderson Silva now cementing himself as the Woods or Jordan of mixed martial arts – that larger-than-life athlete who only comes around once every 10 years. To commemorate his rareness, we cite the five most momentous Anderson Silva trademark moves that helped bring him to the uppermost echelon of the sport:
The Muay Thai Clinch
Rich Franklin found himself on the losing end of two UFC Middleweight Championship bouts when he exposed his face to Anderson’s vicious knees, courtesy of the Muay Thai clinch. Silva badly broke Franklin’s nose during a knee strike and went down with a flurry of knees to the body. Same thing occurred during their rematch almost exactly a year later.
The I’m Too Good at Striking to Follow You Down to the Ground Stance
So a fighter tries to exchange with Anderson Silva, but he just can’t. He gets hit, goes down to the ground, and assumes that a little grappling could do the trick. Except Anderson just doesn’t want to do it. Instead he chooses to wait for opponents to stand up, as Demian Maia, Patrick Cote, and Thales Leites could attest. But most importantly, Dana White hates Silva for it.
The Steven Seagal Kick
Named after the washed-up action star, who claims that it was him who taught Anderson how to execute the vicious front kick that knocked Vitor Belfort out of his senses during their match in UFC 126. Seagal was also in Lyoto Machida’s corner when he delivered a tooth-crushing flying kick to Randy Couture at UFC 132, so there’s a good chance he knows what he’s talking about.
The Muhammad Ali Stance
”Move like a butterfly, sting like a bee.” Citing the legendary boxer as one of his idols, Anderson has made a habit of completely putting his guard down as he exchanges strikes with an opponent. Silva puts his hands down, eludes with his head, mocks by dancing or trash talking, and strikes a fatal blow to the face. Forrest Griffin and Yushin Okami are mere victims.
The Catch and Punch
Executed at the expense of James Irvin back in UFC Fight Night: Silva vs. Irvin back in 2008, also known as the year Anderson proved light heavyweights aren’t much of a challenge to him either. The champion used his left arm to catch the challenger’s leg kick, and used his right to knock him down to the ground. After a flurry of head punches, referee signaled the TKO.