Photo by Daniel Herbertson, Sherdog.com
Wanderlei Silva said it best during his post-fight interview with Joe Rogan following his decision victory over Michael Bisping on Saturday night at UFC 110. Everyone has bad moments in their life. Unfortunately for Silva, he's had more than his fair share of bad results over the past four years.
He was absolutely dominated by a quicker Mirko "CroCop" Filipovic at PRIDE's 2006 Openweight Grand Prix, crushed by a devastating left hand from Dan Henderson at PRIDE 33, edged by Chuck Liddell in his UFC return at UFC 79, and put to shame in only 3:21 at UFC 92 by long-time rival Quinton "Rampage" Jackson. He also dropped an unanimous decision to Rich Franklin in his most recent loss at UFC 99 a little under a year ago.
While most fans would look at that number of losses as a significant indicator that Silva's time at the top has dwindled, the level of competition within that list is very high. "CroCop" was at the top of his game when their match-up occurred, Henderson remains one of the best in the world, Liddell was on a slight downturn in his career, and Jackson and Franklin continue to be considered elite-level fighters.
Silva has now been relegated to fighting some lesser competition, and some might say that he's the gatekeeper to taking on the best of the best. But Wanderlei Silva doesn't seem too keen on having a moniker that denotes him as a "gatekeeper".
As evident in Silva's pre-fight interview for his battle with Michael Bisping, the philosophy that was sold to the fans was that we would see the return of the ultra-aggressive Silva that exploded onto the scene in PRIDE and devastated his opponents. We managed to see glimmers of the style that created "The Axe Murderer" on Saturday night.
Unexpectedly, Silva's style was similar to his past fights. He was patient, maintained range, and tried to find openings in Bisping's defense. A style that some fans have been critical of because it doesn't take advantage of Silva's best attributes. Despite those feelings, Silva had a outing he should be proud of at UFC 110. His takedown defense was solid, his scrambling ability on the bottom was phenomenal, and his increase in quickness was noticeable.
A flurry on action at the end of round three overwhelmed Bisping and ended with a heavy overhand right that was reminiscent of highlight reels we've all seen in the past. Bisping may or may not have been out for a second, but it's tough to say Bisping would have survived the oncoming onslaught. Wanderlei Silva smelled blood once again, and it was beautiful to watch.
Silva is by no means going to contend for a title. He still has some weaknesses in his game that could be tough for him to overcome, but he continues to have immense power in his hands. As we all know, that's an attribute that can create chaos in terms of trying to figure out how a fight is going to turn out.
Silva is truly one of those fighters who can change a fight in a matter of seconds. But age is catching up with him. He may only have a few more years of fighting left in him, so let's all enjoy it while we can.
I can't say I was impressed by the performance, but for those final ten seconds of each round -- I was put back on the edge of my seat. That's all that I can ask from a PRIDE legend that sucked me into this sport years ago. Thank you, Wanderlei Silva.