Opinion: The Future of Anderson Silva
By Jesse Heitz
The year that was 2013 has come and gone. It gave us MMA fans scores of thrilling fights. In the previous year we saw the rise of young lions and the fall of legends. However, 2013 ended with a proverbial bang. It emphasized the withdrawal of legends. Nothing better illustrates this point than UFC 168, the UFC’s final card of the year, a card which saw Anderson Silva fall a second time to Chris Weidman.
While their first fight ended cleanly and decisively, the second was far more unusual. To be sure, the defending champion was having a strong showing against Silva, however, it was a checked kick of all things that ended the fight. By now everyone must surely know that Silva suffered one of the most gruesome leg breaks in MMA history, perhaps only behind Corey Hill. So the question remains as to what the future has in store for arguably the greatest fighter of all time.
In an article published here by Full Contact Fighter, the UFC released a statement following Silva’s horrific injury. The statement reads as follows,
“Following Saturday evening’s UFC 168 main event, former champion Anderson Silva was taken to a local Las Vegas hospital where he underwent surgery to repair a broken left leg. The successful surgery, performed by Dr. Steven Sanders, the UFC’s orthopedic surgeon, inserted an intramedullary rod into Anderson’s left tibia. The broken fibula was stabilized and does not require a separate surgery. Anderson will remain in the hospital for a short while, but no additional surgery is scheduled at this time. Recovery time for such injuries may vary between three and six months.”
Speculation is rampant. As Silva closes in on forty, with an already significant amount of cage time under his belt, one wonders how much is left in the tank, and whether a comeback is even a reasonable notion. It seems unlikely that Silva could dethrone current UFC Welterweight Champion, Chris Weidman, so what does that leave for a man who for years was almost a given to win each and every fight? Is it worth going a through a grueling recovery, risking further injury, just to cash in on a few more big paydays when recapturing the title is an unlikely event?
Even Silva’s own son believes his father should hang up his gloves. In an interview published by USA Today, the younger Silva stated,
“I hope he retires and [goes] home because I’m tired of watching my father train every day, be gone for two or three months, and a broken leg happens. And as always you are my champion father. And once again, good job Chris.”
Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for a comeback if Silva can remain competitive. I’d like to see him retire on a high note. I’d hate to see Silva retire on a relative whimper like Fedor Emelianenko did, losing a string of fights late in his career against men who he would have run through in his prime. Sure, he rattled off a few wins before he retired, but against lackluster competition. In the end, it’s entirely Silva’s choice. It’s his career, health, and legacy at stake, not mine. If he returns I hope he finds success. If he doesn’t return to the cage, he’s had a truly magnificent career.