UFC Middleweight Champion Anderson Silva defeated an above average Light Heavyweight, Stephan Bonnar, last night (Oct. 13, 2012) in the UFC 153 main event at the HSBC Arena in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
It was a dazzling performance that set the proud crowd on fire the instant Silva delivered a Matrix-esque flying knee to the gut of the "American Psycho," which set up the eventual technical knockout stoppage.
The knee was pretty, but it was everything that Silva did prior to uncorking it that has mixed martial arts (MMA) fans, as well as Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) President Dana White, shaking their collective heads in astonishment.
He deliberately stood in the corner of the cage and invited Bonnar essentially hit him with his best shot. Bonnar obliged, but even when a shot connected, Silva would dust it off, reset and return to his spot in the corner of the cage. At one point it appeared that his corner was, rightfully, a bit concerned about his bold antics. In the midst of battle, Silva pleasantly acknowledged them, smirked and waived them off as if to say, "Don't worry, I got this."
Did he ever.
Moments later, Silva got serious and then, just like that, the fight was over.
It was a rare display of showmanship, poise and lethal force that is simply unbelievable if you really think about it. Bonnar, as already mentioned, was way out of his league, but even still, he is a big (6'4," 225-pound) man who is also a trained fighter with the ability to cause damage.
That didn't matter to Silva, though, who toyed with him like cat batting around a wounded mouse. Then, when he made up his mind he was done playing, he went in for the kill and executed in highlight-reel fashion.
White could barely contain himself at the UFC 153 post-fight media scrum:
"We saw something tonight that you might not fucking ever see again as long as you live. What that guy does -- like that spinning back kick where he steps to the side and then steps back -- and he just kind of laid in there, took some shots, let him hit him, he was moving his head and then playing with him. And then, the minute he said, 'I'm done,' it was done. It's just unbelievable -- nobody does that. Nobody. Nobody in this sport is able to do that. That's why when I get these guys sometimes who say, 'I don't know, Anderson Silva might not be the best ...' Are you out of your fucking mind? Nobody can do what this guy can fucking do. He's the greatest of all time. And I think he's the greatest in any combat sport. I'm a huge Mike Tyson fan, and in Tyson's heyday when he was executing people, and you were just wondering how long it was going to be before he knocked someone out -- he had that power and mean-ness that people were afraid of. Anderson Silva just does amazing things that nobody else can do.... I'm telling you right now: Watch every fight that he has, enjoy every moment that he's here because when he's gone you're going to fucking regret it. You're going to wish you watched more. It's like [Michael] Jordan -- even the games he played that didn't mean a lot -- he still did a lot of great shit. Anderson Silva is the guy who you want to watch when he's fighting because you're going to see some shit you've never seen before in your life."
That's a bold, emotional statement that is perhaps impossible to truly back up. Comparing MMA and boxing is similar to comparing apples to oranges -- it doesn't really jibe.
Indeed, it's promoter speak after a 37-year-old bad ass laid waste to yet another skilled victim. Nonetheless, I think we can all agree that Silva is a special fighter and we may never see anyone like him ever again. As White suggests, we should enjoy moments like last night in Rio because we are in the midst of a legendary run.
A legendary run that will likely come to an end sooner rather later and potentially at the expense of a fellow champion ... or champions.