Esther Lin/MMA Fighting
Wanderlei Silva will have a hard time matching the moment he had at UFC on FUEL TV 8 back on March 2 when he knocked out Brian Stann in front of his Japanese fans, which is why now may be the perfect time to call it a career.
The moment won't get any bigger than this.
Former PRIDE FC Middleweight Champion Wanderlei Silva got himself back into the win column by knocking out Brian Stann in the wild main event of UFC on FUEL TV 8 (watch it here), which took place at the Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan, on March 2, 2013.
But it was more than just a win.
"The Axe Murderer" survived one of the craziest first rounds in mixed martial arts (MMA) history, dropping the "All American" and getting dropped himself in a handful of reckless exchanges that saw both light heavyweight combatants throw caution to the wind and just go for broke.
The icing on the cake?
Wandy got to do it in "The Land of the Rising Sun," walking out to "Sandstorm" in the very same arena where he made himself a star by wrecking shop several times a year in front of the Japanese fans -- some of the same fans that returned to the Saitama Super Arena this past weekend to see the legend do his thing one more time.
He didn't disappoint.
That's why the soon-to-be 37 year old should consider calling it a career. I mentioned that Silva was dropped by Stann and that's important to note, because he was also dropped by Rich Franklin and Cung Le, which means it's happened in three consecutive fights after getting pasted by Chris Leben at UFC 132.
His out-cold loss to "The Crippler" was his fourth, with Quinton Jackson, Dan Henderson and Mirko Filipovic being the other three. Nobody wants to talk about pugilistic dementia, but sometimes we have to.
Am I spoiling the moment?
It's not intentional. But while we're all celebrating and high-fiving over Wandy being "back," let's also remember the time may come when the Brazilian is wearing adult diapers and eating baby food through a straw, because everyone wanted him to go out like a "warrior."
If Silva retired tonight, he would.
With a record of 4-5 since his Octagon return, Wandy isn't going to be in the running for a title shot. So where does that leave him? "Fun fights" that pit him against other strikers, which means there won't be any wrestling or jiu-jitsu, just blows to the head.
Is that what we've come to now? Keeping guys around so they can whale on each other as we roar in approval and make cute little GIFs of the violence?
With his training academy and other endeavors, I doubt he needs the money.
Maybe Silva has a couple of big fights left in him. Or, maybe he'll get knocked out three times in a row like Chuck Liddell did and be forced to retire. None of that has to happen, of course, if he rides off into the sunset on the memory of Brian Stann looking up at the lights.
That memory can live forever, unless he decides to trade it in for the opportunity to knock around a few mid-card fighters over the next year or two (or get put to sleep trying).
Hardly seems worth it.
There is no question that Silva is a hall of famer, based on his contributions to this sport. But I want to make sure he's around to accept that honor when the promotion eventually bestows it upon him. He won't retire, most competitive athletes don't until they're made to, but it sure would be nice.
As a fan, albeit a selfish one, I don't want this moment to end.
For more on UFC on FUEL TV 8 including results, recaps, videos, fallout and more check out our comprehensive pre-, during and post-fight stream right here.