Fighters come and go in the eight weight divisions of the US-based Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) series, the world's largest mixed martial arts (MMA) event held at varying times in Las Vegas, Nevada since 1993. Of all the fighters across its weight divisions, only one holds the record for the most wins and the longest reign as world champion. This is Anderson Silva – the current UFC title holder in the middleweight division. The 37-year old Brazilian mixed martial artist made his debut at the UFC Fight Night 5 on June 28, 2006 and since then had won 12 consecutive fights and 10 title defenses. Various publications such as Sherdog, Yahoo! Sports and ESPN have ranked him as the # 1 middleweight mixed martial artist in the world, pound for pound. His exploits earned him the reputation as the greatest mixed martial artist of all time. No less than UFC head honcho Dana White agreements.
Born in April 14, 1975 as a middle child of 4 in a poor family in Curtiba, Brazil, Anderson Silva has shown a natural flair for martial arts right from his humble beginnings as a Jiu-Jitsu trained 12 year old kid who was previously trained in Tae Kwon Do and finally mastering Muay Thai by age 16. He got his black belt in Tae Kwon When he was 18, followed by a yellow rope in Capoeira while establishing himself as a professional boxer. In 1997, he made his professional debut in the Brazilian ring in he welterweight class. After suffering his first loss to Luiz Azeredo by decision, he went on to win 9 consecutive wins 6 of which were won by TKO or submission. In 2001, he started approaching his world class reputation as the only man to end the 20-win reign of Hayato Sakurai by unanimous decision to win the Shooto Middleweight title in Japan.
The following year, Anderson Silva entered the Pride Fighting Championships with three initial wins before suffering a demotivating setback against Daiju Taksa. He left Pride with a destructive win against Jeremy Horn in 2004. Three months later saw his debut in the Cage Rage events in England with a win against noted striker Lee Murray. His return to Pride in December of that year saw another humbling loss to Rya Chonan that finally cost his participation in the Pride fights. Neverheless, his determination to succeed showed in defending his Cage Rage title with successful wins against Matt Lindland., Mike Can Arsdale and Tony Fryklund.
Decisive Wins at the UFC
In June of 2006, after a disqualification loss to Yushin Okami in Rumble on the Rock in Hawaii for which he cheated, Anderson Silva made his debut at the UFC Ultimate Fight Night 5 where he ended the 5-win streak of Ultimate Fighter Chris Leben . The fight ended 49 seconds into the first round and shown Silva's excellent fighting form with an 85% striking accuracy. It was October 14th of that year that saw Silva earn his UFC Middleweight crown after a TKO win against UFC middleweight champion Rich Franklin in the first round. His first title defense win against Travis Lutter became a non-title bout after Lutter failed to make it to the 185lb weight limit. The rest as they say is history. Anderson Silva cemented his reputation winning 10 title defenses against Nate Marquardt and Ruck Franklin in 2007, Dan Henderson and Patrick Cote in2008, Thales Leites in 2009, Demian Maia and Chael Sonnen in 2010, Vitor Belfort and Yushin Okami in 2012, and again Chael Sonnen in 2012.
Being the greatest MMA fighter in the UFC events is matched by Silva's private life as a happy family man with three sons and two daughters whom he loves so much. He had earlier planned on retiring when he reached 35 in 2010 but his contract with UFC required him to get into 6 more fights before retiring.
Fighting style of the greatest MMA of all time
With a high striking accuracy, powerful Muay Thai, counterstrike ability, concentration, and knockout power, Anderson Silva is considered to be the best MMA fighter who main strength lies in technical precession, flawless transition and movement, and effective jabs. He has submitted famous grapplers that included Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt Travis Lutter and Olympic wrestlers Chael Sonnen and Dan Henderson. Silva has made a substantial and lasting legacy on various UFC records that includes: Most all-time knockdowns at 17, highest strike accuracy at 67.8%, all-time winning percentage at 100%, longest all-time winning streak at 16, most number of fight victories at 11, most number of title defenses at 10 and the longest reigning champ in terms of days at 2,315 as of 2012. He could still break some of these records before he retires. When he does, the world of MMA fighting will have to wait for another with the same determined zeal to win, and fighting prowess of an Anderson Silva to match his record.