In the natural world, Newton tells us, for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.
In MMA, I’m here to tell you, for every seemingly invincible fighter, there is an equal and opposite fighter capable of pulling off an upset.
For some, the fall from grace is gentle, a calm slide as we all applaud and remember the great performances, forgetting the bad.
Chuck Liddell will always be the man who destroyed Tito Ortiz and hosted epic wars with Wanderlei Silva and Randy Couture. When remembering “The Iceman,” I cannot even recall him fighting names like Shogun Rua, Rashad Evans and Rich Franklin.
Did he fight those guys? If he did, it must have slipped my mind.
Just as is the case for Liddell, if Anderson Silva should fall victim to Chael Sonnen’s attack on July 7 at UFC 148, it really will not matter in the long run.
Sure, we will all be disappointed in “The Spider” and disown his invincibility on July 8, but in two or three years after Anderson is retired and the dust has settled, we will still remember him for what he is: the greatest mixed martial artist of all time.
Just think with me for a moment about Silva’s UFC career.
You can probably remember all fourteen of his spectacular performances and how they played out. You can undoubtedly recall his Muay Thai clinics (plural) on Rich Franklin, his video game like dominance at light heavyweight and his devastating front kick on Vitor Belfort.
You may also recall the way he toyed with lesser foes in Patrick Cote, Demian Maia and Thales Leites. Anderson Silva was trapped in a steel cage for potentially 25 minutes against other professional badasses, and he straight up played with them.
“The Spider” not only had the confidence to make a fool of his foe inside the Octagon, he had the skill to ensure he could safely pull off the act.
He is utterly spectacular, and every move he makes inside the Octagon is a memorable one.
Every duck and weave is made with an instinctual calculation, every punch and kick an artistic display of utter brutality.
Hard-hitters and technical strikers come and go in the UFC, but nobody has pieced it all together quite like the sensational Brazilian.
There are many good fighters in the UFC. Hell, every fighter in the UFC is good. Really good.
But few are great.
Even fewer are legendary.
Anderson Silva, my friends, is, and will always be, legendary.
Chael Sonnen cannot change that, no matter what he does at UFC 148.
Uncle Chael might be a gangster from the streets of Oregon, but Anderson Silva will always be better than him, even in title.
While Sonnen’s label reads “gangster,” Silva’s will read “greatest of all time.”
Which would you prefer?