“My son talked to me serious. When I talked to my son, my son cried. ‘Dad, stop, please. Back home. Please. You don’t need more fights.'”
Anderson Silva returned to the UFC at UFC 183 emerged victorious over Nick Diaz. While Diaz was the one leaving with bruises and cuts, it may have been Silva who walked away the most scathed, knowing that his career of dominance is officially over.
Silva overcame seemingly insurmountable odds by returning to the octagon only 13 months after suffering one of the most horrific leg breaks in UFC history. For any other MMA fighter, just winning would have been enough to quiet critics. Unfortunately the Spider is not anyone and delivering leg kicks on a previous broken leg isn’t enough to question the talents of the former UFC champion.
[adinserter block=”1″]Silva put this pressure on himself. It was Silva who wrote the headlines. Silva gave media interviews in which he proclaimed that he was approaching this fight the same way he approached his UFC debut. By making those outlandish claims, media and fans were expecting to see the guy who destroyed Chris Leben in under a minute eight and a half years ago. That Spider was nowhere to be found on Saturday.
Silva looked anything but the legendary fighter we have all been privileged to watch over those eight and a half years. Silva stood tall and won most of the exchanges with Diaz, enough to earn him a unanimous decision. Yet the Silva he promised to unleash would have KO’d Diaz with several of those exchanges. The vintage Silva would have probably toyed with Diaz for a round and a half before engaging in a brutal strike-fest that would have left Diaz looking up at the lights. That wasn’t this guy.
Silva told Joe Rogan in his post-fight interview that his family begged him to discontinue fighting. Silva pondered aloud the idea of retirement. Now this wasn’t the first time Silva had brought up retirement. Silva had brought that up several times in recent years. However, this is the first time Silva appeared sincere. This was also the first time that I agreed with the legend.
I can’t even begin to imagine the frustration an elite professional athlete like Silva feels after losing those skills. Going from an elite athlete to a pretty good athlete is never fun to watch. In UFC alone we all were forced to watch Chuck Liddell lose it practically overnight as well as countless others. Unfortunately many of those athletes, Liddell included, confuse great camps with reality and somehow continue to convince themselves that they are elite. Sadly those are the fighters we are all forced to watch fall…some harder than others. I don’t want to see that happen to Silva.
Anderson Silva has been a professional MMA fighter for almost twenty-years. No matter how good you are, your body and your mind are going to get out of sync at some point and your instincts and/or your power are going to go. I don’t want to rush to judgment here but I think the Diaz fight was a perfect example of this. Silva is still pretty good and could probably hang around with a lot of the top fighters in UFC. At the same time, he would likely be embarrassed by the elite and that is nothing I want to see.
Let’s take a look at the landscape. What is the end game for Silva? Naturally it would be a UFC middleweight title fight against Chris Weidman. While I am not convinced that Silva wouldn’t have retained his title in their first fight, I am convinced that he looked lost, frustrated, and outclassed by Weidman in their rematch. I am even more convinced that the guy I saw fight Nick Diaz would probably not last the full fight against Weidman. Anything can happen but I don’t see any way that Anderson Silva can hang with Weidman.
Stepping down you have Vitor Belfort, Luke Rockhold, Jacare Souza, and Lyoto Machida. Belfort is a wild card to me because until I see him without TRT I have no idea what kind of fighter he still is. As for the others, I think all of them would take Silva. I think Souza would destroy him to put it bluntly. Machida is another wild card because you never know what you’re going to get from him. Rockhold as well. In other words, I don’t see Silva getting past any of those guys other than possibly Belfort depending upon what Belfort looks like post-TRT ban.
Do I really want to watch Silva vs. the 6-15 ranked fighters? I also would have no interest in any of the Super Fights proposed such as Jon Jones or GSP vs. Silva. The UFC would either have to feed Silva optimal matchups or feed Silva to the wolves in the top five. Neither situation is desirable for UFC fans, the UFC and most importantly Silva.
[adinserter block=”2″]Silva can walk away now on his own terms. He is not being forced out due to injury. He is not leaving winless in his last two fights. He is not leaving after getting dominated and exposed as a fighter far past his prime. He is leaving now with a win, his health and the satisfaction of knowing that he did it on his terms. I can’t envision a better scenario for Silva to retire.
It’s now or never because there is no happy ending here if Silva continues. We are either going to be forced to watch the end of a legend or forced to watch a manipulated elite fighter. Neither works for me and I hope everyone has some common sense and does the right thing.
Update: It appears Silva got popped for failing a pre-fight drug test. Silva allegedly tested positive for a steroid. So yes, it’s time to retire.