Midnight Struck: Has time run out for Anderson Silva?
Story by Brady Crytzer
Last fall in Chicago, UFC 90 quickly became the talk of the town in one of America’s toughest cities. Headlining the event was the man widely considered to be the best fighter on the planet taking on an opponent with a limited, but dangerous, skill set. When envisioning what world middleweight champion Anderson “The Spider” Silva would do with a one dimensional slugger in Patrick Cote, images of Silva’s 2006 obliteration of Chris Leben quickly came to the forefront.
The fight itself however was baffling to say the least. Silva, who has made a career out of dismantling foes with a vicious arsenal of strikes, appeared to be downright stumped by his much less experienced opponent. Patrick Cote, the least experienced fighter ever to challenge for the middleweight title, took Silva into uncharted territory…the third round. The fight ended as bizarrely as it began as Cote dropped suddenly, untouched, with a fight ending knee injury.
After nearly two years of being surprised and astounded by just how good Anderson Silva really is, the question now begs to be asked…has the clock struck midnight on the best pound for pound fighter in the world?
Silva has amazed fans by submitting BJJ black belt Travis Lutter, choking out former Pride FC Welterweight and Middleweight champion Dan Henderson, moving up in weight and stopping James Irvin with a single punch and KO’ing long time champion Rich Franklin with ease…twice.
Every fight has been a showcase for a new level of athletic prowess that has challenged our long standing perception on human performance in combat situations.
While he has looked absolutely dynamic against the best fighters on the planet, against Patrick Cote Anderson Silva looked, well, flat.
At UFC 97, fellow countryman and jiu jitsu ace Thales Leites prepares to do his best to take the middleweight kingpin’s belt. While he offers little threat on the feet, Leites could very well be Silva’s toughest test on the ground yet.
So, we have a champion comfortable with his spot atop of the MMA world against a fairly one dimensional fighter who has spent much of his professional career under the radar. It appears that UFC 97 could be a recipe for disaster for Anderson Silva.
While the accepted opinion around the MMA world is that Leites will test Silva, it is unlikely that the Brazilian will defeat him.
But with fighters like Georges St. Pierre, Miguel Torres, Rashad Evans and BJ Penn knocking on the pound for pound door with dramatic and dynamic victories, a more important question begs to be asked…
Is simply ‘a win’ enough to keep Silva’s spot as 2009’s King of the Mountain?
The clock is ticking and Anderson Silva needs to strike it before it strikes Midnight.