It took Anderson Silva just over seven minutes to figure out and cast off Yushin Okami at UFC 134. That's longer than it took most sportswriters to rush to their laptops to declare Silva as the greatest fighter on the planet. (And I say that as someone who took his dose of hyperbole pills prior to writing my UFC 134 post-fight analysis.) Here's a sampling of the media blitz:
Those head feints that come from the core? The effortless striking that still busted up Yushin Okami's face? Rank those with Jordan's fadeaway jumper or Gretzky's slapshot, and appreciate that we get to witness greatness every time Silva steps into the Octagon.
If only we could do the whole clone thing. Seriously, Anderson beats Anderson if boredom sets in, or of he's just over the whole fighting thing. I don't think that happens, not when he's poised to establish a legacy as the best fighter in MMA history. That's not easy to walk away from, especially with Brazil finally realizing what it has in this man.
More reactions after the jump.
At the peak of the Corcovado Mountain in the Tijuca Forest National Park, 2,300 feet above sea level, overlooking Rio de Janeiro stands the famous "Christ the Redeemer" statue -- a 130-foot concrete sculpture of Jesus Christ, symbolic of the Christian faith that is so strong in the Brazilian city. At the risk of being blasphemous, the city may have to erect a statue of Anderson Silva for the rabid MMA fans in Rio.
Following Anderson Silva's destruction of Yushin Okami at UFC 134, virtually every article written about the performance suggests that it "further cements his status as one of the best fighters in the world." While that is certainly one way to put it, it isn't really the right way to express what Saturday's performance expressed. The fact is, at this point it's clear that Anderson Silva is far and away the best fighter in the world. Objectively, there is no way to construct a solid argument against Anderson Silva being the best middleweight ever, the best pound-for-pound at this point, and the greatest mixed martial arts athlete of all time.
And yet when we survey the middleweight division, it almost feels like a pointless exercise. Anderson Silva has spent the last five years proving himself to be so far ahead of the rest of the 185-pound class that the rest of the division doesn't seem all that interesting. At UFC 134, Silva spent one round measuring Yushin Okami, then made Okami look like a rank amateur in the second round.
Anderson Silva might as well have put on a feathery outfit and ridden to the Octagon aboard an ornately decorated float borrowed from a local samba school. Saturday night's UFC 134 in Rio de Janeiro was billed as a homecoming party for mixed martial arts. It turned into something even bigger and more festive, something akin to an encore of the city's renowned Carnival celebration.
I've come to realize I no longer watch Silva fights to see if he wins; I watch to see if he does something never before seen. It's like Jordan in the Finals -- you only bet against him if you don't like money. With all of his foreseeable matchups devoid of intrigue, it's becoming apparent: aside from Silva drawing more paychecks - and who can blame him for doing so - there's simply no reason for him to continue competing.
Such statistics are milestones that Silva has already passed. But in many ways Silva’s greatest achievements now stand before him. Silva has been great for many, many years but his superstardom has been constantly questioned. The poor performance of his early title defenses on pay-per-view and an early struggle for the quiet, mild-mannered Brazilian to connect with fight fans caused many to dismiss him as a bland fighter who lacked the charisma to translate his in-ring excellence into commercial success.