Derek Jeter. Kobe Bryant. Peyton Manning.
It feels like all of the greats are on their way out at the same time. The UFC is not safe from this trend. Anderson Silva, arguably the greatest fighter of all-time, hasn’t said that he plans to retire anytime soon, but the 40 year old is stepping into the cage later this month for his 40th career fight. It doesn’t take an MMA expert to realize that he’s not what he used to be.
The Spider’s last three fights have resulted in two losses, one no contest, a gruesome leg injury and a positive test for steroids. The days of his 16-fight win streak and 10 straight title defenses seem like a distant memory at this point. So is it time for Silva to hang up the gloves? There are two ways to look at that question, but it all hinges on his February 27th bout with Michael Bisping.
The way I look at it, there are three possible outcomes. The first of which is the most obvious; Silva loses to Bisping. If that is the case, I don’t think there is a choice to be made here. Silva losing three of his last four, amidst everything else that has gone on recently, would have to lead to his retirement. It would be a hard way to see The Spider go, so here’s hoping it doesn’t happen.
The second option is the storybook ending that we just saw in the NFL: Silva wins the fight and rides off into the sunset. Sure, it’s not another championship, but at least he goes out on a win. While this seems like a very feasible outcome, I’m not very confident in this playing out. Silva is an ultra competitive guy. A win over Bisping puts him right back in the title picture. Have you done the math here? This leads me to my next potential scenario.
If Silva does win this fight the UFC will surely be happy to set up another big fight for him if he wants. And my guess is.. he’ll want it. Whether it be a rematch with Weidman or the less-likely title shot, he’ll want it. I would bet that Silva will take whatever big fight the UFC gives him and tries to truly go out on top.
Whatever the outcome really is, I just hope that we remember the Silva of old. The nose-breaking, arena-shaking, dream haunting, confidently taunting Silva that did things like this:
I was at UFC 101 in Philadelphia when he knocked out Forrest Griffin. The energy in the arena was unlike anything I’ve ever experienced. Everyone there knew they just witnessed something incredible, something that no one else in the world could have pulled off in the way that Silva did. That’s the way that I’ll remember Anderson Silva, regardless of what happens on February 27th.