Anderson Silva is currently the UFC middleweight champion of the world. He has amassed 16 consecutive wins and 10 title defenses. He is widely considered to be the #1 pound-for-pound fighter on almost every list. At age 38, Silva has amassed a record of 33-4 across three different weight classes, and he began his martial arts training by studying and rolling with the other kids in his neighborhood – the kids that could actually afford jiu-jitsu lessons. By his twelfth birthday, the Silva family could afford to send young Anderson to Tae Kwon Do lessons. Silva bounced around from jiu-jitsu, TKD, judo, Capoeira and Muay Thai. He currently holds a black belt in all those styles except for Capoeira, where he is of ‘yellow rope’ rank.
Silva began his fighting career on June 25, 1997 at the BFC 1, where he submitted Raimundo Pinheiro in less than two minutes of the first round. In the finals of the one-day tournament he defeated Fabricio Camoes when the man did not answer the bell after 25 minutes and 14 seconds of fighting. Three years later, the 2-0 Silva experienced his first loss to then 2-1 fighter Luiz Azeredo. Azeredo took home a unanimous decision victory over Silva at Mecca 1 in May of 2000. Following that loss, Silva went on a nine-fight win streak, splitting his time between Japan and Brazil. In August of 2001, Silva claimed the Shooto middleweight championship with a unanimous decision over Hayato Sakurai. Silva also became the first person to defeat Sakurai in over 20 fights (18 wins- 2 draws).
Silva left Shooto for PRIDE Fighting Championships, where he defeated Alex Sitebling, Alexander Otsuka and Carlos Newton. During his furth PRIDE appearance, Silva was submitted by heavy underdog Daiju Takase. Over the next year, Silva would fight three times on three different continents, bringing home victories over Waldir Dos Anjos, Jeremy Horn and Lee Murray; the latter earned him the Cage Rage middleweight championship. Silva returned to PRIDE for the New Year’s Eve 2004 PRIDE Shockwave event. In the waning minutes of the third round he was caught by a flying-scissor takedown and quickly submitted via heelhook by Ryo Chonan. Silva defended his Cage Rage belt three times before signing with the UFC in June of 2006.
Silva debuted in the Octagon with a Knockout of the Night performance over Chris Leben, who was 5-0 in the UFC at the time. The strength of that victory earned him a title shot via fan votes against middleweight champion Rich Franklin. Silva destroyed Franklin within three minutes of the opening bell in another Knockout of the Night performance. He then went on to defend that belt 10 times as well as fight successfully three times in the 205lbs division of the UFC.
Silva’s resume speaks for itself. He is the longest running champion in the UFC. He holds the most wins in title fights, and he is tied for third most wins in the UFC. He holds the most finishes in the UFC. He holds the most Knockout of the Night awards in the UFC and is tied for first in all-time of the Night Bonus awards with Joe Lauzon. Silva holds notable wins over Vitor Belfort, Yushin Okami, Chael Sonnen, Rich Franklin, Forrest Griffin, Demian Maia, Nate Marquardt and Dan Henderson. On July 6, at UFC 162, we will find out if Chris Weidman’s name gets added to that list.