The fight Gods have blessed us with a gift. On just 2 days notice, arguably the greatest fighter in UFC history flew into Vegas to help soften the blow of Jon Jones being removed from UFC 200 due to a doping violation.
While a Cormier versus Anderson Silva non-title fight doesn’t exactly carry the same cachet as Cormier and Jones continuing what could’ve been the greatest rivalry in the sport on the biggest stage , I certainly cannot think of a better option to replace Jones, especially just 48 hours out from the big night.
So, let’s get down to the fight itself. What we have here is a natural heavyweight in Daniel Cormier who could very well be walking around as the champion of that particular division if it wasn’t for his bestie, former 2-time champ Cain Velasquez, still being in that title conversation. In Silva, we have a natural middleweight, the greatest of all-time, returning to a division where he clowned three previous competitors. While Silva may be considered a big middleweight, he’s nowhere near the size of Cormier. If Cormier can get Silva down, it’s highly unlikely that “The Spider” finds a way to get back up. That’s where Silva’s speed comes into play.
UFC Record: 6-1
MMA Record: 17-1
Alexander Gustafsson (SD – 10.3.15)
Anthony Johnson (SUB, RNC – 5.23.15)
Josh Barnett (UD – 5.19.12)
Also of Note:
2-time Olympian in freestyle wrestling
Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix Champion
NCAA Division I All-American
UFC Record: 16-3 (1 NC)
MMA Record: 33-7 (1 NC)
Chael Sonnen x 2 (SUB, TKO – 8.7.10, 7.7.12)
Vitor Belfort (KO – 2.5.11)
Dan Henderson (SUB, RNC – 3.1.08)
Also of Note:
10-time defending UFC middleweight champion (current record)
Longest win streak in UFC history (16)
Longest title reign in UFC history (2457 days)
Undefeated at Light Heavyweight (3-0)
The speed of Silva, his fluid movement, his ability to roll with punches and just completely evade them – it’s one of the reasons why his fights have been so entertaining. It’s one of the reasons why most of his past opponents have been beaten before they ever even entered the cage. There was a certain aura about Anderson Silva. Is that aura gone?
The problem with that style of fighting, especially in MMA, is that age has caught up with him. At 41, Silva has now been dropped twice when employing this Roy Jones Jr. style of boxing. The last time was in his most recent bout against current middleweight champ Michael Bisping. Silva would suffer a unanimous decision loss on the judges scorecard even though Bisping was clearly the more damaged fighter. Unfortunately for Silva, he just showboated a little too much, or maybe his power just wasn’t enough for someone as gritty as Bisping. Maybe it was a combination of both. The first time Silva got knocked down, he literally would not get back up. We’re now 3 years removed from the Chris Weidman KO that shocked the MMA world. Counting that fight, Silva is 0-3 with 1 NC following a record shattering 16-0 start to his UFC career.
We see it all the time. Father Time catches up with everyone in this sport and it comes when you least expect it. There’s no turning back the clock for any athlete no matter how invincible they may have looked during the prime years of their career. Silva does have the chance to turn back that clock for just one night. If he can beat Cormier, he’s not going to challenge for the light heavyweight title. This is a one-off fight, just like Lesnar versus Hunt, for this year’s WrestleMania of mixed martial arts. And while I can’t argue with the odds for this fight (Cormier is currently the favorite at -425, Silva is a very live dog at +325) there’s just something about this whole situation that screams upset.
If the fight goes according to plan, Cormier will take down Silva, advance position and secure either a TKO or a choke to cement himself as a future UFC Hall of Famer. If Cormier can’t catch “The Spider,” he could end up on the wrong side of a KO from a fresh fighter who is probably having the time of his life eating steak and pizza right now to gain a little weight before doing something he never expected to happen this coming Saturday night. Sometimes no stress equal success. Silva gets it done at UFC 200 via TKO to put an exclamation stamp on one of the greatest fighting careers we will ever witness.
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