UFC commentator Joe Rogan has seen plenty of talent compete inside the Octagon, but he's also a fight fan that watches shows from all over the world.
Between 2004 and 2006, just before his UFC debut, Anderson Silva burst on the scene as one of the most devastating strikers the sport had ever seen. The Brazilian Muay Thai specialist truly came into his own once he made it to the UFC Octagon and has been the longest reigning champion in promotion history since debuting in 2006.
Before he was a UFC champion, however, Silva was still more than capable of showing off those same flashes of brilliance in fights like he had against British bad boy Lee Murray during a fight in Cage Rage in 2004.
Murray was known throughout the world as a serious power puncher that notoriously knocked out UFC light heavyweight champion Tito Ortiz during a street fight following UFC 38 in England in 2002.
When he fought Silva in 2004, it wasn't nearly as dramatic as what he did to Ortiz.
"Anderson Silva became Anderson Silva when he went to England. England was where it all came together for him. It wasn't until he went to England and went to Cage Rage, that's when he became Anderson Silva," Rogan said during a recent episode of his podcast. "He was beating the f—k out of Lee Murray. He was f—king his legs up and Murray is tough as s—t."
Rogan has seen virtually every great fighter that's walked through the doors of the UFC, and in his mind, very few are in the same league as Silva. It's not only the style that he fights with but the way he approaches every matchup with the mentality of not only winning but almost embarrassing his opponents along the way.
"Anderson is on some like next level in every department," Rogan said. "He's on some next level physical s—t, he's on some next level mental s—t, he's on some next level confidence s—t, he's on some next level success s—t. He really feels like he's magic. He feels like he can just go in there and do s—t to people. He can and he does."
Rogan has called almost all of Silva's fights in the UFC from cage side, so he's more than familiar with what he's capable of doing to an opponent.
Most recently, Rogan witnessed Silva dismember former Ultimate Fighter finalist Stephan Bonnar after literally toying with him for the better part of the first round. When Silva finally unleashed his attack, Bonnar crumbled in defeat in mere seconds.
"When you see Anderson at his best, it's one of the weirdest things. Cause you can't believe a guy can do what he just did," Rogan stated. "When we were there in Brazil and he fought Stephan Bonnar, dude that was like I was watching a movie. It's like the guy just put his back to the cage and let him tee off on him and then brought him back in, got him to the center and brought him right back in, puts his hands down, stands right in front of him and then when he decides to strike throws him to the ground and buries him with one knee.
"He's a master. It's an honor to be able to call it for sure. It's really shocking, his abilities are really shocking."
Silva's excellence in the cage has always been something special to witness, and he'll try to showcase that next at UFC 162 when he faces top contender Chris Weidman in early July. Silva is a heavy favorite as usual, but Weidman seems to believe he has the skills to finally ground the long-reigning champion.
Whether or not Weidman can do that remains to be seen. Sixteen fighters have tried in the UFC and 16 fighters have failed while Anderson Silva still sits on top of the world.
Damon Martin is a Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report
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