Anderson Silva. Source: Getty

Anderson Silva is a mixed martial artist of Brazilian and American descent. He is a former UFC Middleweight Champion with the longest title reign in UFC history at 2,457 days.

This lasted from 2006 to 2013 and featured a UFC record of 16 consecutive victories throughout that time. Silva is regarded as one of the best mixed martial artists of all time by UFC president Dana White, UFC commentator Joe Rogan, and numerous MMA commentators. Silva stepped down from the UFC in November of 2020.

Source: UFC

Early Life

Silva was born in So Paulo, Brazil, on April 14, 1975. Silva, the son of a poor family, spent the majority of his boyhood in Curitiba with his aunt and uncle, who was a Curitiba police officer.  

Silva’s first excursion into martial arts came while he was a child, when he was training jiu-jitsu with local kids. Silva began practising in taekwondo, capoeira, and muay thai as a teen.

Early career 

On August 26, 2001, after winning his debut match in Japan, he was pitted against Shooto champion Hayato Sakurai. Silva defeated Sakurai by unanimous decision after three rounds, becoming the new Shooto Middleweight Champion (at 167 pounds) and the first man to defeat Sakurai, who had gone undefeated in his first 20 fights.

Records

Pride Fighting Championships and Cage Rage

Source: Twitter.

Silva first competed in Pride in 2002. In his first bout with the organisation, he knocked out Alex Stiebling with a cut caused by a high kick. In his following fight, he defeated the “Diet Butcher” Alexander Otsuka by decision.

Silva challenged former UFC welterweight champion, Carlos Newton, at Pride 25. Newton attempted to close the gap on Silva but was met with a flying knee. Newton slumped, and Silva completed the bout with blows, claiming a technical knockout victory.

Source: Sherdog

Silva made his debut with the Cage Rage promotion in England three months later. Silva fought and won a decision over famed attacker Lee Murray at Cage Rage 8. On December 31, that year, Silva returned to Pride FC to face Ryo Chonan.

In the opening round, Silva took control with a takedown and a body triangle. Chonan was able to counter Silva’s clinch knees with knees and takedowns. Chonan was seen to be winning till the very end by some. During the third round, Bas Rutten, who was commentating alongside Mauro Ranallo, claimed that Anderson needed a knockout or a strong finish to win the fight.

Silva continued fighting in the Cage Rage organisation, as well as other promotions across the world, after being cut by Pride following his loss to Chonan. Silva successfully defended his Cage Rage championship against Curtis Stout.

Ultimate Fighting Championship

Debut and middleweight championship

Source: Twitter

Although there was much curiosity about where Silva might sign next, the UFC revealed in late April 2006 that he had signed a multi-fight contract with them. The UFC quickly began advertising Silva, releasing an interview part almost immediately after announcing his arrival. On June 28, 2006, Silva made his debut at Ultimate Fight Night 5.

Chris Leben, a former The Ultimate Fighter 1 contestant who had gone undefeated in the UFC with five straight victories, was his opponent. Leben, sure of victory, predicted in a pre-fight interview that he would KO Silva.

Silva, a relatively unknown fighter in the United States, made an explosive debut, knocking Leben out with a flurry of precision strikes followed by a decisive knee strike 49 seconds into the first round. Silva’s striking accuracy was 85%.

Following Silva’s victory, the UFC posted a poll on their main page, asking viewers to choose Silva’s next opponent. The UFC Middleweight Champion Rich Franklin was chosen by the majority of voters.

Silva defeated Franklin by TKO (strikes) at 2:59 in the first round at UFC 64 on October 14, 2006. From the Muay Thai-clinch, Silva pounded Franklin with knees to the body, then smashed Franklin’s nose with a knee to the face.

Franklin, unable to strike back, evaded the final of Silva’s attacks before collapsing to the ground, where the fight was stopped by referee “Big” John McCarthy.

Source: MMA Junkie

Silva was slated to fight The Ultimate Fighter 4 winner Travis Lutter on 3 February 2007 at UFC 67 in what would be his first title defence since defeating Rich Franklin in October 2006. However, due to Lutter’s failure to meet the 185-pound (84-kg) weight limit, the event was rescheduled as a non-title bout.  

Many believed that because Lutter is a skilled jiu-jitsu blackbelt, he would have a better chance of winning if the bout went to the ground. In the second round, Silva won by submission with a triangle choke and elbow strikes.

Silva successfully defended his championship against Nate Marquardt at UFC 73 on July 7, 2007, winning by TKO at 4:50 in the first round. Three months later, on October 20, 2007, at UFC 77, Silva fought a title defence rematch against Rich Franklin at the U.S. Bank Arena in Franklin’s hometown of Cincinnati, Ohio.

Silva successfully defended his title by defeating Franklin via TKO in the second round. Silva challenged Pride Middleweight champion Dan Henderson in a title unification fight on March 1, 2008, at UFC 82. (UFC and Pride titles on the line). Henderson was thought to have an advantage on the ground, having competed in Greco-Roman wrestling in the Summer Olympics in 1992 and 1996.

Silva fought Chael Sonnen for the UFC Middleweight title at UFC 117 on August 7, 2010. Sonnen stunned Silva with a punch in the opening round before pulling him down and dominating from the top position, hitting many strikes. The next three rounds were identical, with Sonnen dominating from inside Silva’s guard and going to the ground early.

In the fifth round, Silva slipped after being tagged by Sonnen’s left hook, and the challenger capitalised by regaining top position and striking Silva. Silva was able to lock up a triangle armbar on Sonnen with around two minutes left in the round, leading Sonnen to surrender at 3:10 of Round 5.

Mixed martial arts record

Professional record breakdown
46 matches34 wins11 losses
By knockout234
By submission32
By decision84
By disqualification01
No contests1

Personal life

Source: New York Post

Silva and his wife, Dayane, have three sons and two daughters. Silva worked as a file clerk and at McDonald’s before beginning his professional fighting career. His personal heroes include Spider-Man, Bruce Lee, Muhammad Ali, and his mother, and he has a professed love of comic books and comic book heroes.

Silva has stated multiple times that he considers a long-time friend and former UFC Lightweight and UFC Welterweight Champion B.J. Penn to be the greatest pound-for-pound fighter in the sport’s history. Silva indicated an interest in competing in taekwondo and boxing.

He toyed with the idea of competing in taekwondo at the Olympics and facing Roy Jones Jr in a boxing battle. Silva became a naturalised citizen of the United States in July 2019.

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