Five Middleweights who could beat Anderson SilvaPosted on July 10, 2011, 05:48 PM by Ryan Ventura
Chael Sonnen’s comments in his recent interview with Ariel Helwani on MMAFighting.com got me thinking. The always animated and controversial UFC Middleweight made comments regarding pound for pound rankings. Now I know rankings are purely subjective, based on fans and writers personal opinions, backed up of course by statistics. But for these “fantasy” rankings, there is one thing that almost all writers, fans, and so called experts can agree with. Anderson Silva is on the top of the food chain and it seems like he cannot be beat.
So who can truly dethrone The Spider and take away that belt he wears around his waist? To me personally, the only man that can really beat him is himself. It happens to all fighters, it happens to all greats in all sports. Age catches up to you, mentally you can lose your will to perform, you also eventually lose your physical gifts like speed and strength. 2004 was the last time Anderson Silva decisively loss. JMMA veteran Ryo Chonan beat The Spider with a spectacular Flying Scissor Heel Hook during PRIDE Shockwave 2004.
With a few minor bumps in the road, for five years Anderson has been undefeated. The longest undefeated streak since the legendary “Last Emperor” Fedor Emelianenko. Eventually legends and future hall of famers must fall. After days of doing my homework on some Middleweights who could beat the Black House King, I have chosen a list of five. I want to really hear your thoughts on the matter. Do you agree with my list, do you disagree, and why? Let’s take this conversation further and don’t hesitate to drop your two cents in the comment box.
5. Brian Stann
Why Brian Stann?
The decorated Marine may not has as much experience as Silva, but he is extremely hungry to take his game to the next level. Not only has he showed to have very heavy and accurate hands, but he has shown some solid grappling ability as well. With a Greg Jackson plan in the back of his head, he possibly could beat the current pound for pound king. However, if he can’t catch The Spider he is doomed, and if it goes to the ground let’s not forget Silva’s Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira BJJ Black belt that he keeps as his trump card.
4. Vitor Belfort
Why Vitor Belfort?
I know, Vitor was defeated with a Steven Seagal super special kick, but I don’t believe lightning will strike twice. Vitor isn’t only an explosive boxer, but a very decorated grappler as well with his own BJJ & Judo black belts. If the two were to fight again, Vitor will be much more prepared for Silva’s unpredictability. But its Silva’s brand of fighting that makes training and preparation very difficult. To avoid getting punted in the chin again, Vitor needs to use his angles, have his hands high, and chin low to keep the Spider from striking down the pipe.
3. Chael Sonnen
Why Chael Sonnen?
How can any Mixed Martial Arts fan forget their epic bout from UFC 117? The trash talking politician / “gangster” from Oregon seemed to have backed up every word he said to hype the fight. But with just a matter of seconds remaining from him tasting Middleweight gold, Silva pulls out one of the most memorable Triangle Chokes ever seen in the sport. If the two were ever to meet again, Chael has shown the world some cracks in the pound for pound king’s armor. Wrestling seems to be something Silva has struggled with in the past. If Mr. Sonnen can try to avoid being in the Spider’s dangerous guard, we could see him grind his way to victory.
2. Yushin Okami
Why Yushin Okami?
Before Yushin or Anderson fought for the Ultimate Fighting Championship, they competed at the Rumble on the Rock 175lbs tournament which also featured the likes of Jake Shields, Carlos Condit, and Frank Trigg. Silva lost his bout with Okami due to a kick to the face while Yushin’s knees were on the ground. The two will meet in a long awaited rematch at UFC 134 in Rio.
Now Yushin fighting Anderson for the title in The Spider’s home country will make it a very hostile environment for the Japanese superstar. But lately, to improve his already solid wrestling game, he has been working with former opponent Chael Sonnen. If “Thunder” can use a similar game plan to that of Chael Sonnen’s, the result could look like his fight with Nate Marquardt. We could very well witness one of the biggest upsets in this sport’s history.
1. Jacare Souza
Why Jacare Souza?
The current Strikeforce Middleweight champion is one of the most decorated Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu fighters to ever enter into the sport of MMA. Jacare not only has one of the best ground grappling pedigrees in the game today, his level of striking has improved leaps and bounds. Not only does Jacare have an already dangerous arsenal of weapons in his repertoire, the two know each other very well being in the famous Black House camp. Anderson Silva has even cornered for Jacare during many of Souza’s fights.
The two know each other very well in a way that none of these fighters mentioned on this list. It would be a battle of student vs. teacher, with both knowing very well of each other’s weaknesses. However, this bout may never happen at all. With the two being friends from the same camp, we might never see a champion vs. champion bout between the two Brazilians. But if the price is right, who knows in the future we could have a similar situation to Georges St. Pierre vs. Nick Diaz.
Photo: Anderson Silva celebrates his victory over Travis Lutter at the Ultimate Fighting Champion Championship UFC 67 at the Mandalay Bay Hotel in Las Vegas on Feb. 3, 2007. Credit: Francis Specker