He's been referred to as the most dangerous man on the planet and as the greatest mixed martial artists (MMA) of all time. And looking back at the trail of unconscious and disfigured opponents he has left in his wake, it's hard to argue otherwise.
His name is Anderson Silva and when's he not defending his UFC middleweight strap, he's moving up in weight to 205-pounds to wreak havoc.
On Saturday (August 27), he takes his final step into solidifying his status as the best 185-pounder ever when he looks to get past Yushin Okami at UFC 134: "Rio." Every other contender in the middleweight division who has been able to string two or three wins together has already gotten their chance to dethrone "The Spider" and each potential usurper has met the proverbial guillotine.
As we prepare for the historic event, we'll take a look back at five of Silva's best knockouts of which he has many. The man is almost literally a human highlight reel when he steps inside the Octagon so this ought to be a lot of fun.
vs. Carlos Newton (Pride FC 25: Body Blow, 3/16/03)
When fans say that Silva was a "Pride fighter" that's like saying Urijah Faber was a King of the Cage fighter. "The Spider" spent some time in the Pride ring but you couldn't place him alongside Kazushi Sakuraba or Fedor Emelianenko.
You could place him next to Mirko Filipovic though thanks to one particularly nasty KO against Carlos Newton. The Canadian had done his best to try to put Silva on his back but "The Spider" knew his stand-up was leagues ahead of that of his opponent's.
A subtle twitch of the hips and Newton thought a head kick would come sailing his way. Instead he ended on being on the receiving end of a brutal flying knee that unbelievably did not put him to sleep. The subsequent punch that barreled its way into his jaw did, however. Finishing "The Ronin" off with a rape choke that would make fellow Brazilian Wanderlei Silva smile with malicious glee, this knockout definitely earned its spot on this list.
vs. Rich Franklin (UFC 64: Unstoppable, 10/14/06 and UFC 77: Hostile Territory, 10/20/07)
When Silva burst onto the UFC scene with a remarkable one-minute knockout over Chris Leben, he established himself as the clear cut number one contender to Rich Franklin's title.
Four months later, it took him only three minutes to rearrange the American's face. Like a fly in "The Spider's" web, Franklin found himself stuck in Silva's Thai clinch. No matter what he did, he was unable to escape and absorbed knee after knee to the body while the killing blows landed cleanly onto his skull.
Two wins later, Franklin was back in his hometown to attempt to get his title back. While he lasted nearly twice as long as he did the first time, the story was still the same. Silva brutalized him in the clinch and made Franklin's striking look elementary as he bobbed and weaved just out of reach.
vs. Tony Fryklund (Cage Rage 16, 4/22/06)
I don't even know what to say about this one. Silva has gone on record that he wanted to do some Tony Jaa-type stuff inside the cage after watching the movie Ong Bak. The quickness combined with the understandable lack of even considering training for this type of strike spelled the end for "The Freak" who does some pretty scary convulsing on the mat after getting dropped.
Good gravy, I could watch this over and over.
vs. Forrest Griffin (UFC 101: Declaration, 8/8/09)
Silva had put in two stinkers in a row while taking on less than worthy title contenders at 185-pounds going into UFC 101. So what did the UFC do? They threw "The Spider" inside the cage with a former 205-pound champion they knew would take the fight to him.
And boy howdy, did he.
Many pundits predicted that Silva would have trouble with the physically larger American but Silva once again proved that his striking has no comparison in the MMA world.
The Brazilian seemingly toyed with his opponent who only landed four punches in the three and a half minutes they fought and was knocked down three times. That a fighter could move up in weight and decimate a former champion so easily was jaw-dropping.
Ah, the money shot.
In terms of strikers that will put you to sleep in their fist happens to finds its way to your jaw, Vitor Belfort is among the best. He, like fellow Brazilian Silva, owes much of his fanbase to the violent endings his fights usually produce.
Brazilian jiu-jitsu experts -- like Demian Maia -- couldn't get the job done and wrestlers -- like Dan Henderson or Chael Sonnen -- found themselves tapping out to the Brazilian. Solid cross-trained former champions in Franklin and Griffin both fell to "The Spider" as well.
But Silva hadn't faced a striker many considered to be as dangerous as him inside the Octagon before. Belfort's striking was hyperbolized as "lightning fast" and "dynamite."
In the end, it wasn't a punch at all that ended the bout but a kick. And it was apparently a kick taught to Silva by none other than Under Siege star Steven Seagal.
Will we get another GIF-worthy knockout this Saturday? The first time Silva stepped inside the cage with Okami, we did.
Unfortunately for the Brazilian, the upkick was against the rules and he earned himself a disqualificatio (DQ) as Okami was not able to continue.
In front of his countrymen, fighting the last man to hold a victory over him, I can only wonder with glee:
What else does "The Spider" have in his bag of tricks?