Can Retiring Anderson Silva Turn Back The Clock Against Uriah Hall?
Former longtime UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva, has announced that his UFC Vegas 12 fight against Uriah Hall this weekend will be his last.
Silva hasn’t fought since May of 2019, when he lost to Jared Cannonier via TKO at UFC 237, and hasn’t won since early 2017. Despite his recent woes, he has resisted the idea of retirement up until now, and originally intended to fight out the remaining two fights on his UFC contract. However, the 45 year old has changed his mind and will finally walk away from the sport after this weekend.
Silva confirmed his retirement last week in an interview with MMA Junkie.
“This is the last fight,” Silva said. “For sure, this is the last fight. Probably. I love the sport. I’ve prepared my mind for this. I’ve prepared for fight my entire life, but yes, this is my last fight in UFC.”
Going To Miss It
After 23 years in the sport, Silva has been defined by his performances inside the Octagon. However, he explained that it was his time in the gym that he will miss the most.
“I think [I’ll miss] the training [the most],” Silva said. “Preparing my mind, preparing my body. This I think is most important and I feel sad because I don’t have this anymore. This is the last one.”
A Rising Star
Silva made his MMA debut all the way back in 1997, winning two fights in one night at a small show in his native Brazil. That night was just the first act of what would go on to be a long and storied career.
After a successful stint in PRIDE FC, including a flying knee knockout win over former UFC welterweight champion Carlos Newton, Silva then went on to make his mark in the UK. His four-fight run in England’s Cage Rage promotion was punctuated by winning the highly anticipated showdown with local hero Lee Murray, and one of his most famous pre-UFC highlights, the reverse elbow knockout of UFC veteran Tony Fryklund.
In 2006, following the Fryklund win, the UFC came calling and one of the great win streaks began. Silva was thrown straight into a middleweight title eliminator with hard-hitting veteran Chris Leben at UFC Fight Night 5. While the Brazilian came to the UFC with some hype, the showdown with ‘The Crippler’ was seen to be a tough first assignment. The bout however, only lasted 49 seconds, with ‘The Spider’ dispatching the Ultimate Fighter Season 1 veteran with a well timed knee.
A Historic Title Reign
Next Silva found himself opposite UFC middleweight champion Rich Franklin at UFC 77, the man many believed would go on to be the promotion’s next megastar. Once again, Anderson was unfazed, trapping ‘Ace’ in a Thai clinch and finishing him with knees in the very first round to claim the belt.
What followed was a seven-year title reign, highlighted by wins over UFC Hall of Famer Dan Henderson at UFC 82, one of his the most famous moments on his highlight reel, the front kick knockout of Vitor Belfort at UFC 126, and a last gasp submission victory over bitter rival Chael Sonnen at UFC 148.
For good measure, Silva also moved up to light heavyweight for a dominant win over former champion Forrest Griffin at UFC 101, as well as a knockout victory over another Hall of Famer in Stephan Bonnar at UFC 153.
Despite his UFC record of 16 consecutive wins, 10 title defences, second only to Demetrious Johnson with 11, Silva surprisingly looks all the way back to 2001 for his personal career highlight.
“My first title belt in Japan when I fight in Shooto, when I fight Hayato Sakurai,” Silva said. “This is my best memory ever. It’s my first title belt.”
Silva’s reign finally came to an end in 2013 at the hands of Chris Weidman, when he was caught showboating and knocked out by the surging American. In years gone by, Anderson would use such tactics to frustrate and even embarrass some of the world’s best fighters. His failure on that night may have provided the first clue that at 38, his skills were fading.
Can He Turn Back The Clock?
MMA fans will get one last chance to see the Brazilian legend in action before he rides off into the sunset, and takes his rightful place in the UFC Hall of Fame. Silva’s later career hasn’t panned out as he would’ve liked, including two failed drug tests. However, in the eyes of most, his legacy remains intact.
What we see today is certainly a faded version of the Anderson Silva, who once dominated the UFC middleweight division. In more recent appearances against Michael Bisping, Derek Brunson and current middleweight kingpin Israel Adesanya, we have seen mere glimpses of ‘The Spider’ of old.
Uriah Hall, given their stylistic similarities, appears to be the perfect dance partner for Silva to showcase his skills one last time. While it would seem that a vintage performance is unlikely at his advanced age, Anderson promises to do all he can to deliver.
“I can’t say, ‘Oh, this fight goes to the ground, this fight is done in the standup,’” Silva said. “It’s two good strikers. Uriah’s a very, very athletic guy and has a good technique in the striking and I try to do my best. I try do to the best show for my fans.”
Do you think Anderson Silva can turn back the clock and go out with a win against Uriah Hall at UFC Vegas 12 this weekend?