Anderson Silva: Why the Pound-for-Pound Kingpin Is Still in His Prime at 37

Dustin FilloyFeatured ColumnistApril 7, 2013

Jul. 7, 2012; Las Vegas, NV, USA; UFC fighter Anderson Silva celebrates after defeating Chael Sonnen during a middleweight bout in UFC 148 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Age and wear haven’t deterred the soon-to-be 38-year-old Anderson Silva from thrashing every opponent in his path in the UFC’s middleweight and light heavyweight divisions.

Always cerebral in his approach to training and evolving, Silva has taken all the proper measures to optimize his potential and his career longevity.

Since his impressive debut in 2006—in which he mauled Chris Leben at Ultimate Fight Night 5—“The Spider” has reeled off 15 consecutive wins, including 11 in middleweight title bouts.

Silva’s has also garnered a record-tying (Joe Lauzon) 12 post-fight bonuses in that span, proving that he’s just as entertaining as he is talented.

The Spider’s thorough dominance at his natural weight class (185 pounds) has the UFC’s brass and many pundits demanding that he consider superfights with the likes of welterweight champ Georges St-Pierre or light heavyweight king Jon Jones.

With one of his most prolific draws approaching the age of 40, UFC president Dana White jumped at the chance of re-signing The Spider to a massive deal after UFC 155 (via MMA Weekly):

"He signed a 10-fight deal. I don’t think we’ve ever done a 10-fight deal," White said after UFC 155. "Maybe we did one with Forrest once, I don’t remember, but Anderson said, 'I want a 10-fight deal, not an eight-fight deal.' I’ll give him a 100-fight deal if he wants one."

Silva, however, can’t lose sight of the nature of the demise of legends like Fedor Emelianenko and Chuck Liddell, who reigned supreme over their respective divisions for years before eventually sputtering with age.

Both Emelianenko, a former Pride heavyweight champ, and Liddell, a former UFC light heavyweight champ, were on top of their games when their jaws gave out.

On a recent episode of The Joe Rogan Experience, White offered his thoughts on the future of one of the most coveted fighters in MMA history.

"God I hope this guy fights 10 more times. I hope it's possible. You know, it's like when I saw this (Adrien) Broner kid and like when you see somebody that's special. The guys that really got something really special. Anderson Silva is just f***ing unbelievable."

Despite the fact that has deemed Silva a 3.05-to-1 favorite (-305) for UFC 162, The Spider’s opponent, Chris Weidman, represents one of the stiffest challenges he'll face in his prolific career.

Akin to former NCAA Division I wrestling All-American Chael Sonnen, who employed a grinding, wrestle-heavy style that nearly worked to dethrone Silva at UFC 117, the 28-year-old Weidman possesses top-flight wrestling chops, brute strength and a motor to match.

A third-place finisher at the 2007 NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships, Weidman’s also a capable striker and a venomous Brazilian jiu-jitsu practitioner who's won twice by submission and once by KO in just five UFC bouts.

There’s no hungrier, more versatile or more suited foe dwelling at 185 for The Spider to lock horns with. If he trounces Weidman like he has his last 16 opponents in the UFC, Silva will leave his critics with little to write about and UFC matchmakers with few opponents to line him up with.

Let's face it, if Silva upends Weidman like the oddsmakers expect him to, then The Spider will enjoy another long period of time in the limelight before being pitted against St-Pierre or Jones in a superfight.