Much has been made of Anderson Silva’s well-chronicled recovery from a broken leg suffered against Chris Weidman in his second round injury TKO loss at last December’s UFC 168.
Each and every step of “The Spider’s” road to recovery has been documented. It all seemed to happen so fast, as Silva walked down some stairs, began training grappling, hit the pads, and began sparring.
Yesterday, news broke that the decorated former champion had been cleared to resume full training in MMA. However, “The Spider” was quick to appear in a video interview and reaffirm his previous statement that a return to the Octagon was out of the question in 2014.
This evening, the man who wants Silva back in the cage the most, UFC president Dana White, appeared on “UFC Tonight” to give his opinion that Silva could physically come back to fight this year, but it’s more a matter of mental motivation:
“Well, I’d like to see him come back whenever he wants to come back. I just think that he’ll be back before ’15. You know, he says a lot of things in the media, like ‘I’ll never fight Chael Sonnen again,’ and then he does, you know what I mean? So, I think we’ll have him before ’15, but who knows?
It’s all, right now he’s physically ready; the stuff that I saw this guy doing, you know, six weeks after the surgery, was amazing. I can imagine what he’s doing now. I’m sure it’s more mental now. You know, when you start kicking shin to shin after that happening to you, I’m sure there’s a lot of mental that goes into that.”
White’s assessment may indeed be the case, at least somewhat, as it’s going to be tough for Silva to return to being the kick-throwing Muay Thai expert he once was, especially at 39 years old. But Silva’s training is apparently progressing at a rapid rate, so it’s all on how much he actually wants to climb back in the cage.
It could be argued that Silva’s motivation to remain at the top level of MMA was in question heading into his UFC 162 match-up with Weidman, and he didn’t seem to want the immediate rematch all that much.
So it’s hard to say he’ll regain the fire he had five years ago after such a rough stretch. There’s not much left for him to prove, and the UFC middleweight division is populated with talented killers that will be challenged by only the sharpest and most focused opposition.
Will Silva find the will to rise back to the top level of the sport?