Often overshadowed by his consistent greatness is the fact that UFC middleweight champion Anderson “The Spider” Silva is 36-years-old. While not exactly in Dan Henderson territory just yet, Silva is certainly past the usual prime of a fighter’s career and has toyed with retirement more than once over the past few years.
Luckily for us fight fans, Silva has opted, for now, to continue his unprecedented run of championship success at the urging of his teammates, though he’s still competing on borrowed time. Speaking with Brazilian magazine Alpha recently (props to CagePotato) UFC president Dana White spoke about the end of Silva’s career and how best to properly send off The Spider.
“He’s probably the greatest fighter in history. He hasn’t lost and has been champion since 2006. I think he has two more title defenses and I do not know what he’ll do next or if he will retire,” said White. “He could end his career with a super fight against Jon Jones or George St-Pierre. He could end his career like that — fight in a different weight class. I would be happy with that. Then he could take a boat and sail into the sunset.”
Those two potential super fights have been discussed for some time now, with White initially appearing hesitant to risk the tarnishing of one of his promotion’s champions. Having seemingly changed his tune on the matter, White discussed what may be the more realistic fight of the two (since Silva has moved up to light heavyweight in the past with great results): Silva vs. Jon Jones.
“Age is a sh**, man. It’s the only thing you can not cheat. The fighters who become champions never finish their careers at the top. Anderson may have the ability to do this,” he said. “The problem is that you never know when time will catch up with you. You are the king of the world one day, then you get in there and one day is half a second slower than before. And only you will know right away. Anderson is 36 years old. Jon Jones is 24. Jon Jones was in that war with Rampage. He finished the fight with swollen knees, unable to walk. Then six days later he was fine. That’s how you heal when you’re 24. But the fact is that Anderson did not get beat for a long time.”
Silva is currently riding the sidelines while rehabbing a nagging shoulder injury and will likely take on the winner of the impending Chael Sonnen-Mark Muñoz contest in early summer, possibly in Sao Paulo, Brazil.