How Anderson Silva still shows his greatness

What we love about fighters are often the aspects of them that scare us. Imagined connection and affinity for public personas are nice and all but rarely have they garnered any fighter support without the athlete first demonstrating fearsome skills inside the ring.

Fighters do scary things, and we admire that about them. So it has been with Anderson “The Spider” Silva all these years of his long career.

Inserting elite fighter after elite fighter into his thrilling highlight reel over his six and a half year, 17 fight win streak. Setting records for consecutive title defenses.

Fighting everywhere from 175lbs to 205lbs, even on short notice. Blowing some opponents out of the water, fast, while overcoming adversity to pull victory from the jaws of defeat in other bouts.

At his best, Anderson Silva showed scary speed, timing, and power. For the past seven years or so, however, he’s alarmed supporters by sticking around and taking beatings while sustaining multiple injuries so serious that they would have ended others’ careers on their own.

It used to be scary to imagine what Silva was about to do to his opponents. Now, after losing by TKO to Uriah Hall on Saturday – Silva’s third-straight loss – it’s scary to think about what fresh damage the 45-year-old will sustain, next, especially since he won’t yet commit to retiring.

Since beating Stephan Bonnar in October of 2012, Silva has fought nine times but has only one official win to show for it. Sure, he beat Nick Diaz before that decision was reversed because of their respective drug use, and he was certainly robbed by the judges in his 2016 fight against Michael Bisping.

But Silva was also gifted a decision over Derek Brunson in his lone win during that stretch. The overall and undeniable point is that Silva has continued training and fighting long past his prime.

Though that might be tough to watch in real time, it does not detract from his greatness. In fact, it’s testament to it.

Greatness in athletics is often discussed in ways all too quantifiable and one-dimensional. By any measure, Silva has demonstrated his greatness.

He has rare talent. He showed remarkable improvement in jumping from mere world- fighter to champion over the course of several crucial years during which he considered retiring about 15 years ago.

Silva certainly showed historic dominance, not just in the middleweight division that he ruled over for years, but also up a in taking on and beating some of the best light heavyweights in the world. In fact, this writer is still waiting to see a more dominant run in the sport of MMA than Silva’s from any of the younger champions who float about in conversations of all-time greats these days.

Superior talent, improvement through perseverance, and sustained dominance resulting in historic accomplishments. Silva may just already have everyone else beat in those traditional metrics of greatness.

His losses reveal another, less measurable element of what makes the Brazilian truly special, however – Love. Everyone loves to win.

Every fighter loves to collect more titles, accomplish more history, and ride the coaster while it’s on its ascent or at least cruising along. Not every fighter, not even every champion fighter, loves the boring, hard stuff, though.

It’s wise for so many elite athletes to say that they’ll hang it up the moment they stop being competitive. It’s scary when they refuse to do so and sustain unneeded additional damage.

Many of those athletes who fight on too long seem to do so under the delusion that they can once again become champions. Silva has never struck us in the fight world that way, however.

Silva has never insisted on protecting his win to loss ratio by controlling the conditions he fights under, or who he fights, in what weight or on what timing. He fought Daniel Cormier – one of the very best light heavyweights and heavyweights in history – on a couple days’ notice just because he was already in town for his friend “Minotauro” Nogueira’s Hall of Fame induction. Silva shone when the lights were brightest but has also always seemed content to just scrap with whoever was in front of him.

Silva has fought on long after earning another title was in the realm of possibility. Silva has fought on long after he stopped being a pay-per-view headliner.

Silva fought on long after his body stopped holding up to battle. Multiple scary leg injuries later, he’s still training and fighting.

You don’t do all that unless you love more than the wins. By all accounts, the fighter life is what Silva loves.

All of it. Getting up every day to train in obscurity, the dieting, the sparring, the conditioning, all to prepare for the opportunity to place yourself in public and mortal peril.

Anderson Silva began his pro MMA career in 1997, just a few years after the UFC was invented. Even now, he has trouble even imagining himself without it.

“It’s tough to say it’s my last,” he said Saturday after losing to Hall. “Because this is my air, this is what I’ve done for my entire life with my heart.”

As Silva ponders how he can live without air, I have to wonder how any measure of greatness can outweigh loving the sport that much. Anderson Silva became one of the all-time best in MMA and as he became less effective at it because of age, his passion for the sport hasn’t appeared to dwindle at all.

Anderson Silva loved the sport before he was the best at it, and maybe that’s why he still does long since he stopped being number one. How else can we explain the uncommon public and magnanimity he’s shown after losing to people like Hall in recent years?

Loving something long past when you could dominate and control it, after glory could be wrung from it is the true test of whether or not you really ever loved it at all. Anderson Silva never fell in love with his own greatness, and never lost his unconditional affection for the daily trials of being a fighter.

That’s an intangible, immeasurable component of his greatness that is still in full bloom. It’s also why it will be difficult for any fighter to ever eclipse Anderson Silva.

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this dipshit still?

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Fuck off Elias. Nobody here wants to read your shitty articles.

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How’s the terrorist training going there Al Fagdhadi? 

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fuck off 

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Piss in your own mouth 

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Booooo

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Not reading a single word this fucking shit stain types. Why you would have this condom shitter write articles for you and actually pay him is beyond me.. oh here's your click though. 

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Lol goddamn 

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No matter what he's writing about it always reads like a try hard college kid's essay to me.

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Elias CePEDO. 

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FRAT.

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This thread warms my heart on a cold night.  

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![](upload://7ODeLYe8JWd57fYbEBKI4n7oqdT.jpeg)

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Mods can you pin this please? Thanks!

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I gave it a chance. I really did. I stopped reading at ‘robbed in a 2016 decision vs michael bisping’ like gimme a fucking break bud lol.

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Not reading a single word from a TRASH human.

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Damn you guys can't cut the guy a break.  Finally a non-racial article and he still catches heat.

ShanTheMan - 

Piss in your own mouth 

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