Eric Bolte-US PRESSWIRE
Though one can't deny Anderson Silva's skills have catapulted him to the top of the mixed martial arts (MMA) fight game, former opponent Dan Henderson says the fact that he manipulates the UFC into giving him favorable match ups doesn't hurt his cause.
It is often said that fighters, especially champions, don't pick their opponents, instead choosing to let the powers-that-be set up fights that make the most sense and are worthy of title contention.
Yes, you often hear some people calling out certain fighters, but, for the most part, it has become almost customary for champions to echo the same sentiment, saying they don't pick and choose their opponents, just fight who they are told.
"Hendo" says Silva has a knack for manipulating the UFC into getting the fights he wants and tries to avoid ‘dangerous' fighters because what it boils down to for Anderson, is not wanting to lose for the remainder of his career, which is why he allegedly picks opponents he feels will help him keep the course and achieve that goal.
Henderson said as much to "MMA Interviews:"
"I think Anderson, for the last five years, has tried to pick and choose who he fights and manipulates the UFC a little bit. He didn't want to fight Chael again after the first time, and, you know, obviously did after a while. He didn't want to fight me again. He kind of tries to stay away from guys that are dangerous or have a dangerous style for him and, you know, especially because he's looking towards the end of his career and he wants to, he wants to retire without losing again. It's not necessarily how champ should be, but, at the same time he is trying to be smart about things. So, you know, it's all debatable."
Perhaps this is the same reason many feel "The Spider" is adamant in fighting the much smaller welterweight champion, Georges St. Pierre in a "super fight" fans have longed for but many feel is unfair due to the size advantage Anderson would have come fight night.
"Dangerous Dan" lost to Silva nearly five years ago at UFC 82, tapping to the Brazilian in the final seconds of the second stanza. Since the loss, Henderson says he's tried to get a rematch but Anderson has avoided him.
Nevertheless, Henderson says the 185-pound kingpin is the only guy he would drop to the middleweight division for, but since he's doing well at light heavyweight and doesn't plan to lose in the division, he would like to see former Strikeforce champion Luke Rockhold get a shot:
"He's probably the only guy I would drop (weight) for, but, I am very comfortable at 205 pounds and there's plenty of guys for me to fight there. We'll see what happens in the future, but, I don't plan on losing at 205 at all. I would like to see Luke Rockhold fight Anderson, as a fan. He's coming up here to help me train for this one as well. He's been up for a couple fights as well, so, I'd like to see that fight. That would be interesting. Luke's a decent wrestler and good enough on his feet to where he's not going to be picked apart by Anderson without really making Anderson know he's in a fight."
Silva has yet to taste defeat inside the Octagon, winning an unprecedented 16 straight fights since his promotional debut back in 2006.
His record-breaking performances have catapulted "The Spider" to the top of the mixed martial arts (MMA) pound-for-pound rankings and have many calling him the greatest fighter to ever compete in the sport.
But, aside from his obvious talent and skills, did the Brazilian bomber manipulate the UFC into giving him the fights he specifically wanted to maintain his status as the best of all time and keep his perfect record inside the Octagon intact?
Who disagrees with "Hendo?"