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Myth or reality: profile on EliteXC fighter Antonio 'Big Foot' Silva

Antonio Silva

There's a heavyweight fighter competing this Saturday night at "Street Certified" who EliteXC Live Events President, Gary Shaw, thinks is the best heavyweight in the world.

No, it's not Kimbo Slice. Rather, it's American Top Team standout, Antonio "Big Foot" Silva (9-1).

Here's what Shaw had to say about the Brazilain in a recent statement:

"I believe Silva is the No. 1 heavyweight in the world. If there is a UFC heavyweight or, for that matter, any heavyweight out there that feels they are the best then lets make a match. We can do the fight in an Octagon, in the EliteXC cage or any venue. I truly believe ‘Big Foot' will kick any heavyweight's butt and look forward to giving him the opportunity to do it.''

Perhaps it's hard to believe Shaw -- it's not exactly a partisan opinion.

However, you might find it interesting that at one point in time "Big Foot" was supposed to fight Fedor Emelianenko, who is considered by most to be the best pound for pound fighter in the world.

The fight never happened. And here's the reason, according to Silva:

"We had an offer to fight Fedor in Bodog and actually Fedor was the one who turned it down. I think it was because the fight would have taken place in Russia and Fedor decided that there was a risk in that fight."

Regardless of personal opinion or truth, it's hard to argue the potential of Silva ... especially if (and it's a big if) Fedor did indeed turn down a fight with him.

He's 6'4" and as big as a heavyweight can be, cutting weight to make the 265-pound limit. He has a Brazilian jiu-jitsu background, but is an extremely skilled striker with both his hands and feet.

Silva is also surprisingly agile and quick for his massive size with proven power -- all nine of his wins have ended in the first round. And -- perhaps the most intriguing aspect of all -- Silva is only 28-years-old.

"Big Foot" has won both of his fights in the EliteXC heavyweight division thus far, most recently defeating Jonathan Wiezorek (11-2) via rear naked choke back in November. He also has an impressive technical knockout of Wesley "Cabbage" Carreira who has a battle-tested iron chin.

Silva's lone loss came during a super heavyweight fight with Eric Pele (11-4) in December 2006.

First, the fight probably would've had a different outcome if it were in a cage. Silva had Pele in serious trouble in the first minute of the fight, but Pele fell through the ropes and the fight had to be stopped and moved back to the middle of the ring.

Then, the fight was stopped again a few seconds later from a questionable kick to the groin by Silva and Pele was able to recover.

Silva continued to dominate the stand up before being hit with a wild right hand from Pele, which put him on the ground and it appeared Silva was defending himself, but the referee jumped in and stopped the fight anyway.

It was a very controversial result to say the least.

Silva had this to say about the loss:

"I wasn't feeling hurt, I was looking for an opportunity to sweep or submit him since I have very good jiu-jitsu, but they didn't give me a chance to show it. I learned a lesson and I'm not going to let that happen again. It didn't really frustrate me, but it bugged me because I had a perfect record and never lost. I would like to have that rematch."

Silva certainly feels like he was robbed that night against Pele and is not happy about the lone blemish on his record. That means he's now fighting with a chip on his shoulder, which spells trouble for every heavyweight fighter out there.

Put simply, Silva is a dangerous match up for anyone because of his combination of monsterous size, quality jiu jitsu and phenomenal speed and power in his striking.

I can't think of any other heavyweight with an arsenal like his. If he can prove his fight with Pele was a fluke and his chin is not suspect, then Gary Shaw might just be right about this guy.

Time will tell ... perhaps as soon as this weekend in Miami.

Silva is set to lock horns with former UFC heavyweight champion, Ricco Rodriguez. "Suave" is not the fighter he once was, but he still possesses a dangerous skill set and the desire to recapture his former glory.

There is not currently a heavyweight champion in EliteXC. A win on Saturday night against Rodriquez should put Silva right in line for a shot at the vacant strap.

Who knows ... if Kimbo can can get past Tank Abbott, too, maybe we'll see Silva and Slice mix it up for the first EliteXC heavyweight championship.

Talk about a fight that would answer a lot of questions. We'd find out about Silva's chin and we'd find out about Kimbo's legitimacy as a mixed martial artist.

It's a nice thought.

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