Anderson Silva rewrote the history book during his time atop the Ultimate Fighting Championship’s middleweight mountain.
“The Spider” made his debut on the Brazilian regional scene in 1997 and later tested the waters in Shooto, Pride Fighting Championships and Cage Rage before landing in the UFC, where he became a full-blown superstar and one of the all-time greats. Silva’s run inside the Octagon included victories over five former UFC, Strikeforce or Pride champions: Rich Franklin (twice), Dan Henderson, Nate Marquardt, Forrest Griffin and Vitor Belfort. Though his reputation has taken a hit due to a late-career collapse and a positive test for anabolic steroids, the onetime UFC middleweight titleholder’s legacy was cemented long ago.
As the mixed martial arts world awaits word on Silva’s next move, here are five things you might not know about him:
1. He grew accustomed to carrying gold.
Silva remains one of 10 men who have captured the Shooto middleweight championship—Yasuto Sekishima, Yoshimasa Ishikawa, Naoki Sakurada, Hayato Sakurai, Jake Shields, Akira Kikuchi, Shinya Aoki, Luis Ramos and Hernani Perpetuo are the others—and one of two fighters, along with Paul Jenkins, to lay claim to the Cage Rage middleweight title.
2. His skills are known to overwhelm opponents in a hurry.
“The Spider” owns 17 first-round finishes, accounting for exactly half of his professional total. Silva scored the fastest stoppage of his career in his Ultimate Fighting Championship debut at UFC Fight Night 5, where he wrecked Chris Leben in 49 seconds on June 28, 2006. He outlanded Leben by a 17-to-1 margin in what can only be described as a massacre.
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3. A significant chunk of the record book belongs to him.
A statistical marvel, Silva ranks first on the UFC’s all-time list in knockouts (11), second in knockdowns (18), third in finishes (13), fourth in title fight victories (11), fifth in significant strike accuracy (.599) and ninth in total wins (17). He also holds the all-time record for consecutive victories (16) and longest championship reign (2,457 days).
4. His devastating repertoire made him a rich man.
Silva has pocketed 14 post-fight bonuses in 24 UFC appearances: seven for “Knockout of the Night,” five for “Fight of the Night” and two for “Submission of the Night.” The result was upwards of $750,000 of additional income for the Brazilian muay Thai machine.
5. In his prime, consistency was a hallmark.
The Sao Paulo, Brazil, native once went a remarkable seven years, five months and 16 days between defeats. Silva was disqualified against Yushin Okami at Rumble on the Rock 8 on Jan. 20, 2006 and did not lose again until he was knocked out by Chris Weidman at UFC 162 on July 6, 2013.
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