Throughout the week and the evening of the event, UFC Fight Night 181 was billed as Anderson Silva’s farewell bout.
However, during a post-fight interview with former foe and current UFC commentator Michael Bisping following his loss to Uriah Hall in Saturday’s main event, “The Spider” hesitated when asked if he was 100 percent ready to call it a career.
“I don't know, first I go back home and I go see with my team everything,” Silva said. “Let's go see because it's tough to say it's my last or not because this is my air. This is what I do for my entire life and with my heart. Let's go see.”
Silva held his own with Hall for the bout’s opening 10 minutes, but meaningful moments were few and far between during the initial two stanzas. Hall turned the tide when he floored the 45-year-old Brazilian late in Round 3 and flurried with strikes in search of a finish before the horn sounded. A counter right hook by Hall dropped Silva again in the fourth frame, and this time, “The Ultimate Fighter 17” finalist put his foe away with standing-to-ground punches at the 1:24 mark of the period.
Silva took his defeat in stride, and even if he isn’t done fighting, seemed to acknowledge that it will be his last UFC appearance.
“A fight is a fight. When you come inside, you have a chance to win, 50-50, and today Uriah's the best,” Silva said. “He come to win the fight. I'm enjoying my moment. Sometimes it’s very difficult for us to stop, you know?
“But today is the final day and I'm so happy to be here and doing my last show for my fans in the UFC and the UFC family.”
UFC president Dana White refused to leave the door open for a potential Octagon return for the ex-middleweight champion, who has won just one fight in nine bouts since 2015.
“He fought a guy that has absolutely zero output,” White said at Saturday’s post-fight press conference. “They’re in a five-round main event on ESPN and they threw f—-ing 11 punches in the second round. You fight any of these other savages, he’ll be in big trouble, and he’ll take a s—t load of punishment. Uriah Hall threw 11 punches in the second round. Uriah Hall is one of the most gun-shy fighters in the UFC.
“And look at Anderson. When the fight was over, he couldn’t even stand up to do his interview. He had to sit down and do an interview. I made a big mistake and I shouldn’t have let him fight this fight tonight. He’s a legend of this sport and he’s a legend of this company, and I did something I disagreed with. I knew I was right, and tonight proved I was right, and Anderson Silva should never fight again.”
White did confirm that Silva does have one fight remaining on his current UFC contract. The UFC boss won’t allow Silva to fulfill that bout, but he would release “The Spider” from his deal if he insists on moving forward with his MMA career.
“I’m not trying to prevent him from doing anything,” White said. “He’s a grown man and he can do what he wants, and he’s got one fight left with us. I’ll never let him fight here again. I want him to retire. And what I hope is when he goes home his family, he tells him that same thing.
“I’m in a really hard position right now because this is a guy I care about and this is a guy that’s been here for a long time and is a legend of his company, and I don’t want to sit here and s—t on him. But he’s almost 46 years old. Unless you’re trying to defend your f—-ing life or save your family, no one at 46 should be fighting.”
Though his UFC tenure might not have ended on a high note, Silva has a career filled with highlights, and he struggled to pick a favorite fight or opponent.
“I have different ones. I have great memories,” he said. “I have the best moments in my life with every single opponent I fight in the UFC.”
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