There may not be a greater misconception among casual MMA fans today than the notion that Anderson "The Spider" Silva is "boring." In a world where "What have you done lately" is almost all anyone can think about, Silva entered the cage against Chael Sonnen last summer with a lot to prove. His earlier shutout decision title defense against submission grappling expert Demian Maia had left many wishing that Silva had pressed more for the finish. In the Sonnen fight, Silva demonstrated vulnerability for the first time since he had reached his prime as a fighter. His comeback for the win in that defense is now the stuff of legend and, although "The Spider" is now past his prime, MMA fans the world over anxiously anticipated his defense this past Saturday against Vitor Belfort. They were not disappointed. The ending to that fight (like so many others) came suddenly and violently. Still, in the days after that display by the nearly 36-year-old middleweight (an especially advanced age for that weight class), fans I’ve talked to usually preface discussion of the champion with a comment indicating that they’re not really a fan of his. As an avid fan of both MMA and boxing, I thought it would be interesting to break down the numbers and compare Silva’s run against a boxing title reign that fans typically glorify: The heavyweight reign of Mike Tyson. Mind you, I don’t subscribe to the idea that Tyson was as great as some of his peers. In fact, I can point to several American boxers in the past 25 years that have better resumes. Still, there is an enchantment about Tyson for whatever reason. He seemed particularly menacing and was an iconic figure in pop culture for quite awhile. Even non-boxing fans were in awe of his concussive punching power. So what do the numbers say? Here’s a comparison:
From the time Mike Tyson won his world championship to the time he lost it:
10-1 (8 finishes; 80% rate) (2 finishes in first round; 20% rate) (4 finishes in first two rounds; 40% rate)
From the time Anderson Silva won his world championship until present:
12-0 (10 finishes; 83% rate) (5 finishes in first round; 42% rate) (8 finishes in first two rounds; 67% rate)
I’m not exactly sure why Silva isn’t admired more by MMA fans. I will admit that, in his only two UFC fights to go the distance, he did himself no favors in the eyes of fans by not taking risks and pushing for a finish (especially considering how much more talented he was than his opponents). However, I would argue that those two shutout performances should be overshadowed by an incredible body of work that saw him both dominate and finish the heavy majority of his opponents. Could his lack of popularity be due to the fact that Silva isn’t fluent in English? I suspect that for many that could be part of the reason for their reluctance to list him among their favorite fighters. If Tyson could be described as expressing his bad-assery as a scowl, Anderson Silva has expressed his as a confident smirk. Perhaps he came across as too nonchalant for audiences. Whatever the reason, he has never enjoyed the popularity in his own sport that one would expect from such a dominant figure. Here is a guy that has not gotten into trouble outside of the cage and has far more often than not exhibited a fan friendly style of fighting within it. He has a diverse skillset with significant accomplishments in multiple disciplines. He has won by shutout decisions, first round dominations and come from behind submissions. Like all things, one day his reign will come to an end. Occasional boring decision or not……non-English speaking or not…….I, for one, have greatly admired it and enjoyed watching it. Besides, a knockout front kick to the throat sounds the same in any language.
The FanPosts are solely the subjective opinions of Bloody Elbow readers and do not necessarily reflect the views of Bloody Elbow editors or staff.