Conor McGregor may be stealing all the attention of Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) fans ahead of his showdown with No. 10-ranked featherweight Dennis Siver at UFC Fight Night: "Boston" this weekend, but it's time we start showing the perennial contender some respect.
The German-by-way-of-Russia kickboxer has remained relatively silent throughout the largely one-sided build up toward their main event outing; however, as of late, Siver has thrown a couple of zingers at the brash Irishman. Siver, who just turned 36-years-old on Jan. 13, 2015, is a veteran of the UFC, having spent more than seven years fighting in the Octagon. He has also been on the cusp of achieving top contender status twice, against both Donald Cerrone and Cub Swanson, but was finished on both occasions.
Siver is 3-1-0-1 in his last five fights and a win over the seemingly insurmountable hype train that is McGregor would be the rejuvenation that his career needs. Before he and Dublin's own grace the Octagon this Sunday, take a look at the five best moments of Siver's UFC tenure.
5. Siver knocks out Naoyuki Kotani in lightweight debut, Sept. 2007
It wasn't pretty, but Siver earned his first career UFC win by knocking out the Japanese jiu-jitsu specialist Kotani. Siver appeared to be in trouble early when Kotani pulled guard and slapped on a triangle choke one minute into their bout. However, the Japanese star was unable to secure it, which allowed Siver to unleash some vicious elbows from half-guard to finish out the opening round.
Round two was Siver's time to shine, as he showcased his kickboxing pedigree, landing a few hard rights and lefts. It was a left hook that ended Kotani's night at the 2:04 mark of round two. This Russian must break you.
4. Siver earns first submission finish of UFC career against Dale Hartt, June 2009
The Russian native, fresh off of a spinning back kick knockout of Nate Mohr five months earlier, was looking to notch consecutive wins in the Octagon for the first time as he faced the mixed martial arts (MMA) prospect Hartt. As the fight got underway, Siver looked to be finding his comfort zone, rattling off leg kicks and well-timed combinations. Hartt, looking to thwart any momentum, took the fight to the ground and avoided an armbar attempt by Siver, assuming position in side control.
A nice escape and reversal, combined with a missed guillotine choke attempt by Hartt, led to Siver controlling the fight from the top. Siver, showing he's much more than an elite striker, displayed excellent control, straddling Hartt as he looked to escape from underneath and secured a quick rear-naked choke. Lightweights you have been warned.
3. Siver decisions toughest opponent to date George Sotiropoulos in enemy territory, Feb. 2011
In a matchup of completely contrasting styles, Siver, who fights out of Mannheim, Germany, notched his third straight victory over the Greek-Australian Sotiropoulos. The Russian easily shrugged off would-be takedown attempts by the Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt in round one and knocked down Sotiropoulos with a left hook. In the second round, we saw a much more aggressive Sotiropoulos, who threw more kicks, as well as a couple of overhand rights, to stun Siver and possibly take the round.
The 36-year-old Siver would ultimately prevail off of the strength of his unrelenting power and kicks, leaving Sydney, Australia, in style.
2. Siver successful in featherweight debut against Diego Nunes, April 2012
Following a disappointing first-round submission loss to Donald Cerrone, Siver embarked on a new quest of pursuing a title at 145 pounds. The mammoth of a featherweight had his first test in the perennial contender, and World Extreme Cagefighting (WEC) veteran, Nunes.
For three rounds, these two engaged in a highly entertaining kickboxing affair. Through two rounds, both Siver and Nunes were even in significant strikes landed. Siver landed two quick takedowns, but the Brazilian was right back up to his feet. In the final frame, Nunes appeared to rock the Russian with a right hand but, as he did most of the fight, Siver responded with a flurry of body shots and a hard left hook.
Three judges awarded Siver a 29-28 victory over Nunes, who was the more accurate striker of the two but failed to connect as much as the imposing Russian.
1. Siver knocks out Paul Kelly with brutal spinning back kick, Nov. 2009
Siver, looking to make it three in a row following highlight reel finishes of Nate Mohr and Hartt, took on the British striker Kelly in Manchester, England. The opening round featured several counters and kicks by the Russian, who had more of a strategic gameplan than the go-for-broke style of Kelly. Going into the second frame, the Brit didn't have much more success throwing superman punches and uppercuts, and was grounded by a debilitating spinning back kick.