This evening, Anderson Silva will finally be immortalized in the UFC Hall of Fame's Pioneer Wing, joining the likes of Matt Serra, Don Frye, Tito Ortiz, Chuck Liddell, and Randy Couture.
Silva is often referenced as the greatest mixed martial artist ever to compete. With an incredible 10 consecutive UFC title defenses that led to a championship reign over 2,400 days, it's hard to argue.
Silva was born in São Paulo, Brazil, into a low-income family, and at age 4, moved in with his Aunt and Uncle in Curitiba for a better life.
Silva began training in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu with the children of his neighborhood and found himself obsessed with it. He would traverse his teenage years enamored by combat sports, taking up Capoeira, Muay Thai, and Taekwondo while still training in Jiu-Jitsu.
Anderson Silva made his professional MMA debut in 1997. He amassed an 8-1 record before signing with Pride Fighting Championship, winning 3 in-a-row before being finished for the first time by Daiju Takase. Following this, Silva would go 5-2 in his next 7 fights, with the last being a disqualification loss to Yushin Okami by an illegal up-kick due to a misunderstanding of the rules by Silva. Silva's return saw him score an upward elbow knockout over Tony Fryklund in Cage Rage, which went as viral as possible in 2006. Little did he know, this knockout would begin one of the most incredible win streaks in MMA history. This big win got the world talking about Silva and promoters wanting him. Ultimately, he accepted the call to the UFC, where he faced The Ultimate Fighter 1 contestant Chris Leben, who was on a 5-fight win streak and undefeated in the UFC. Silva made quick work of Leben with pin-point strikes resulting in a 49-second knockout. Following this, UFC fans were polled on the UFC's website asking who Silva should face next; the unanimous vote was the current champion, Rich Franklin. Silva knocked out Franklin with brutal knees that broke the champion's nose and crowned himself the new UFC Middleweight champion.
In Silva's first scheduled title defense, his opponent, Travis Lutter, failed to make weight, making this fight a non-title bout. Lutter, having showcased excellent grappling on The Ultimate Fighter 4, felt his path to victory would be on the ground using his highly accomplished Jiu-Jitsu blackbelt; however, it was Silva that pulled off the submission victory with a triangle choke. Silva went on to continue to pile in title defenses over formidable opponents, such as Nate Marquardt, Rich Franklin again, Dan Henderson, Patrick Côté, Thales Leites, Demian Maia, Chael Sonnen x2, Vitor Belfort, and Yushin Okami, while simultaneously jumping to Light Heavyweight for non-title bouts. This streak would put him at 16 UFC victories in a row, which still to this day is the longest in company history.
The end of Silva's UFC career saw him come up short on many occasions, including a career-changing leg break in his second fight against Chris Weidman. However, Silva never gave up; he was determined to return to entertain his fans every single time, even taking fights against future greats such as Michael Bisping, Daniel Cormier, and Israel Adesanya. He ultimately finished his final fights 1-7 with 1 no-contest in his last 9 fights.
Now semi-retired from MMA, at 45 years old, Silva opted to move to professional boxing full-time, where he was already 1-1 from competing in 1998 and 2005. In his return to boxing, Silva faced former WBC Middleweight champion Julio César Chávez Jr in 2021. To the dismay of boxing fans, Silva out-boxed Chávez Jr. over 8 rounds for a split-decision victory. Later the same year, Silva faced ex-UFC Light Heavyweight champion Tito Ortiz and scored an emphatic first-round knockout that rendered Ortiz laid out on the canvas. With all this talk of Silva looking incredible inside the squared circle, Jake Paul had him on his radar and was calling for a fight. The pair fought in October of 2022 while Silva was 47. Silva fought a great fight, landing a few good shots on Paul and leading into the final rounds; it was pretty close, but Paul scored a significant knockdown in the final round, making his victory unquestionable. This was the last time Silva fought as a professional. However, he has expressed interest in a final MMA fight where it all began for him, Japan.
Outside of fighting, Silva has been raising his 5 children, appearing in film and TV, coaching, and spending time with his wife, Dayane.
Anderson Silva embodies being a fighter, entertainer, gentleman, and BMF. His records and accomplishments speak for themselves, and no matter where he ends up, there's one place he belongs; the UFC Hall of Fame.