Search icon

Fitness & Health

14th Apr 2015

Anderson Silva still one of the UFC’s all-time greats as he turns 40

Silva was gold in the UFC...

Ben Kenyon

Anderson Silva turns 40 today.

Controversy aside, he still remains one of the greatest mixed martial artists that has ever graced the Octagon.

His fighting style made him the stuff of legend in the UFC and he still retains the longest winning streak in the organisation’s history.

‘The Spider’ may have lost his long-held middleweight world title and some credibility following drug test scandals, but he has a legacy most fighters could only dream of.

Here’s Silva’s career in numbers…


Silva has recorded an incredible 34 wins in a professional MMA career that began way back in 1997.  Not bad for a Brazilian kid who grew up dirt poor.

Seventeen of those Ws came in the UFC – putting him third behind legendary fighters Georges St-Pierre and Matt Hughes in the all-time win rankings.



The number of knock-outs on his résumé is pretty spectacular too. Twenty KOs wouldn’t seem like a big number in boxing, but that’s huge in MMA terms.

While many boxers will bump up their numbers fighting bums, Silva has fought the best.

He has some pretty illustrious scalps in Rich Franklin, Vitor Belfort, Forrest Griffin and Chael Sonnen. In their prime too.

anderson animated GIF


The Spider has three championship belts to his name. Many moons ago (2001 actually), Silva claimed the Shooto Middleweight Championship at 161lbs when he subbed Hayato Sakuri in Tokyo.

Another belt followed three years later when Silva won a unanimous decision in Cage Warriors against famed British striker (and convicted armed robber) Lee Murray. (If you don’t know the story of Murray’s role in a £53m heist watch this.)

Who could forget the sensational performance Silva put on to defeat the then middleweight champion Rich Franklin. Still one of the best Muay Thai knees we’ve seen…

silva 3


Sixteen consecutive wins on the bounce. Sixteen. A phenomenal stat that is still unrivalled in UFC history.

This ridiculous winning streak started with a crushing knee against Chris Leben in 2006 on Silva’s UFC bow. The strike won him Knockout of the Night and signalled his arrival to the UFC.

His next fight was Franklin for the middleweight championship. He ruthlessly put the champion to the sword and claimed the belt.

He would go on to make a record 10 successful defences of his UFC belt which ended with a devastating defeat to current champion Chris Weidman.

world animated GIF


Some UFC greats are known for one fighting art – like GSP with wrestling or Chuck Lidell with striking. But Silva’s a different breed.

A true all-rounder, he mastered 7 fighting disciplines including wrestling, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, judo, taekwondo, Muay Thai and capoeira.

That’s what made him a dangerous opponent and one of the UFC’s greatest champions. He could finish you from anywhere – just look at any one of his wins and you will see knees, kicks and submissions.

He even has a 1-0 record in professional boxing.

quality animated GIF


Silva dominated at middleweight. But he also fared pretty well moving up to light heavyweight. He recorded 3 wins from 3 at the 205lbs weight class – not bad for a 185-pounder.

He dispatched Stephen Bonnar, Forrest Griffin and James Irvin – the latter tried to stand and trade with Silva until the champ caught his kick, floored him with a straight and finished the fight with ground and pound.

part animated GIF


There aren’t many undefeated fighters in the UFC and even fewer who hang up their gloves undefeated. Silva has six losses on his record. There’s certainly no shame in losing in a sport like MMA where everyone has a puncher’s chance.

Three losses came early on in his career – including an incredible flying scissor heel hook submission against Ryo Chonan in Pride back in 2004.

highlight animated GIF

He was disqualified for an illegal upkick on an opponent at Rumble on the Rock two years later – however Silva claimed he was properly informed of the rules about kicks while a fighter was down.

The two big losses came most recently against current middleweight champ Chris Weidman. The first saw undefeated Weidman strip Silva of his belt with a second-round knock-out at UFC 162. The second came with a disturbing leg break for Silva in the rematch at UFC 168 across the shin bone of Weidman.

chris animated GIF

Silva still protests his innocence despite failing two drug tests for steroids.

But if the win against Nick Diaz is his final outing in the UFC, Silva will always be remembered as a great.