The one interesting thing that has happened in the buildup to UFC 162 has been that of Anderson Silva’s legacy being discussed. Silva told Jay Mohr he didn’t need a super fight with either Jon Jones or GSP for his legacy. He’s openly been discussing how he isn’t fighting for anything but fun and money now, leading to a lot of people discussing whether or not his head is still in the game.
At 38 years old Silva is at the end of his career … or at least that’s what we think.
UFC 162 is primed to either be his greatest victory yet or a changing of the guard. Silva has yet to become human in the cage; so far his UFC tenure has been that of almost unmatched dominance. “The Spider” has finished nearly every fight he’s had in the UFC, with more finishes at middleweight in title fights than some fighters have in their entire careers. He’s even had a comeback for the ages, coming back against Chael Sonnen at UFC 117 in the final minutes of a fight he was profoundly losing. He’s gone up to 205 on multiple occasions, destroying a former champion of that weight class in the process.
Either way Silva’s legacy is secure right now as the greatest fighter to ever have stepped inside the cage. And it’s why nothing from this point forward matters as much.
It’s why a super fight has never mattered as much as it should’ve. Silva doesn’t need to fight GSP or Jones to establish himself as the greatest fighter to ever walk into the UFC. It’s something we as fans have been teased about over the years, something spoken of but never close to completion. GSP/Silva is almost destined to be the Pacquiao/Mayweather of MMA, the fight that didn’t happen but should’ve, but it isn’t the grand deterrent to Silva’s career that some think it is.
Silva and GSP never fighting, or Jones and Silva for the matter, doesn’t matter as much as Pacquiao/Mayweather because there never has been a profound need. Mayweather and Pacquiao fought pounds apart and had such a contrast in styles that a fight with them made sense for such a long period of time. Silva and GSP were separated by a significant size difference and both always had challengers to vanquish.
The Brazilian never needed to fight the smaller Canadian for any reason other than vanity. It was a great “what if” but not a fight to maintain relevance for either fighter. Weidman is a great challenge but a loss doesn’t as much now as it would’ve four years ago; Silva’s at the end of his career and a loss now (even a blowout) is forgivable. The sum of his career will outweigh a loss right now.
Regardless of what happens this weekend Anderson Silva has staked his claim to being the best fighter of his generation.