There was a time when Brazilian mixed martial arts (MMA) fighters were the cream of the crop inside the Octagon, holding the majority of the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) titles in weight classes ranging from bantamweight all the way up to heavyweight.
Now, only Jose Aldo remains as the sole representation of a "champion" fighter for his country, as he has yet to cough up his featherweight strap, as Junior dos Santos, Renan Barao and Anderson Silva -- the longtime middleweight champion -- have all lost their respective belts over the past couple of years.
According to Silva, he and his fellow countrymen failed to evolve in the sport of MMA, which is why they are no longer champions. He said as much during a recent press conference (video replay) in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (via MMA Fighting):
"It's natural. Brazilians forgot some things to focus more on other things. We forgot the evolution. It's important. I speak for myself. In my last two fights, I should have evolved more, but I didn't follow this evolution. That's why I brought in (Ricardo) De La Riva, (Luiz Carlos) Dorea, (that's why) Rogerio Camoes is always seeking evolution, (Josuel) Distak and the whole X-Gym team, to see how we can evolve."
The aforementioned Dos Santos failed in his bid to recapture his crown against Cain Velasquez at UFC 166, while Barao didn't get his chance to take his belt back from T.J. Dillashaw, as weight-cutting issues forced the former champion to bow out of their fight the day prior.
As for Silva, he didn't have much luck in his rematch against Chris Weidman at UFC 168 back in 2013, as he broke his leg during a routine kick that was perfectly checked by "All American."
And though in the back of his head he wouldn't mind a third fight against Weidman, for now, "The Spider" will shift his focus to Nick Diaz, whom he'll face at UFC 183 on Jan. 31, 2015 in a much-anticipated fight that doesn't exactly have title implications for either combatant.
As for the rest of the former Brazilian champs, they'll have to win a few more fights before they can get a chance to recapture their championship glory days. It will be interesting to see if they have evolved and changed up their MMA game -- much like Silva plans on doing -- when that time comes.