Longtime former UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva has been out of action since he broke his leg in the second round of his UFC 168 rematch against Chris Weidman late last year (December 28, 2013).
“The Spider” underwent immediate surgery for the gruesome injury, and he chronicled each excruciating step to his recovery, which apparently went very well. Despite his rehabilitation success, however, Silva decided that it was best to take the entirety of 2014 off to spend time with his family, who don’t exactly want Silva to return to the Octagon.
Yet he will, as Silva was signed on to face polarizing bad boy Nick Diaz in a blockbuster middleweight match-up in the main event of UFC 183 from Las Vegas, Nevada on January 31, 2015. UFC president Dana White recently said the winner of that bout will find themselves right back in the crowded 185-pound title mix, but there are a ton of questions surrounding Silva’s motivation to fight for the belt again.
On the other hand, as Silva trains and his return grows closer, his manager Ed Soares is beginning to see glimpses of the once dominant “Spider.” Soares spoke up to Submission Radio to detail his thoughts that Silva could return to the top of the middleweight mountain if he so desires:
“I think he’ll be back and he’ll go as far as he wants to apply himself to. I think if anybody can come back from an injury like this and come back and put that title around his waist again, if anybody in the world can do it it’s Anderson Silva.”
That may be true, but with punishing grapplers like Weidman and “Jacare” Souza in addition to the bruising Vitor Belfort and his good friend Lyoto Machida now populating the upper rungs of the middleweight ladder, Silva has a lot of work to do.
He maintains his No. 1 ranking, and there’s not any question that he is a bigger draw than anyone not named Georges St. Pierre.
Soares believes that Silva got complacent, but now that he’s been out of the limelight for a while, he’s reassessed the situation and will return with renewed vigor:
“I think that’s going to be the biggest motivation, just seeing Anderson back to what he once was. I believe that there got a point in Anderson’s career where maybe subconsciously he forgot what it was like not to be champ, and I think now he’s kinda looking up at that hill realizing that he’s got some more challenges to conquer.”
As for Silva’s leg, Soares said everything is fine and Silva has returned to striking with full capacity:
“He’s doing great, he’s throwing kicks, he’s doing everything.”
Silva may be back to full health (or close to it), but there’s a far cry between being physically able to fight and taking on the best middleweights the UFC has to offer. His match-up with Diaz is going to show us how much confidence “The Spider” has in his kicks, which have long been an integral part of his unorthodox skillset.
Can Silva return to the impeccable form he rode to the record for most consecutive title defenses in UFC history?