Anderson Silva is a Brazilian MMA fighter who is regarded as the greatest MMA fighter of all time by a lot of MMA publications as well as UFC president Dana White. He is a former UFC Middleweight Champion who holds numerous UFC records, including the longest title streak (16 consecutive wins) and the most title defenses (10). Coming from a low-income family, he could not afford to take combat training at first and supported himself in his early years by working as a file clerk or at McDonald’s. He later joined Chute Boxe Academy and received his black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu from Antônio Rodrigo Nogueira. He is also a professional boxer, having won one of his two career fights via knockout. He has appeared in a number of films, as well as the Netflix reality show “Ultimate Beastmaster.” “Like Water,” a documentary, was based on his life. As a result, he has been called “The Spider.” He likes comic books and Spider-Man, from whom he got the nickname.
Childhood and Adolescence
Anderson da Silva was born in So Paulo, Brazil on April 14, 1975. He was one of four children born to a police officer’s father.
Because his family couldn’t afford jiu-jitsu classes, he began by observing local kids fight and eventually training with them. His family was able to pay for his taekwondo classes by the time he was 12 years old. He briefly studied Capoeira before switching to Muay Thai at the age of sixteen.
He was a member of the renowned Chute Box Academy, but they split up after a heated argument about payment. When Antônio Rodrigo Nogueira took him under his wing, he helped him reach his full potential. The academy is said to have told Pride not to give him any more fights.
Anderson Silva began his professional fighting career in Brazil in the welterweight division in 1997, with two back-to-back victories, followed by his first loss to Luiz Azeredo in 2000. He quickly responded with a nine-fight winning streak, including one against the then-unbeaten Shooto champion, Hayato Sakurai, on August 26, 2001, in Japan, which made him the new Shooto Middleweight Champion.
He began his Pride Fighting Championships career with three wins in 2002-03 but then fell to underdog Daiju Takase at Pride 26, prompting him to ponder retiring from MMA. Antônio Rodrigo Nogueira persuaded him to fight again and join his Brazilian Top Team.
On September 11, 2004, he won the Cage Rage Middleweight Championship by decision over famed striker Lee Murray at Cage Rage 8 in London. The next day, December 31, 2004, he lost to Ryo Chonan by submission and was let go by Pride FC. He went back to Cage to defend his title against Jorge Rivera and Curtis Stout.
He later competed in Hawaii’s Rumble on the Rock event against Yushin Okami but was disqualified despite being the favorite because he kicked him in the face when he was down, uninformed of the rules. While Okami was supposedly in a position to fight, he chose a disqualification victory, which Silva characterized as cheap and cowardly.
After his highly anticipated battle with Matt Lindland was canceled, he fought Tony Fryklund instead and defended his title at Cage Rage 16. Soon after, he signed a multi-fight deal with the UFC and made his debut on June 28, 2006, at Ultimate Fight Night 5. He beat Chris Leben by KO.
The UFC opted to let the fans determine his next opponent through a ballot, and he met UFC Middleweight Champion Rich Franklin at UFC 64 on October 14, 2006. He won by TKO at 2:59 of the first round, becoming the second man to defeat Franklin and the new UFC Middleweight Champion.
In 2007, he defeated Travis Lutter in a non-title bout and successfully defended his championship against Nate Marquardt and Rich Franklin, winning “Knockout of the Night” accolades in both fights. On March 1, 2008, he faced Pride Middleweight champion Dan Henderson in a title unification fight at UFC 82, which he won via rear-naked choke in the second round.
On July 19, 2008, he made his light heavyweight debut against James Irvin at UFC Fight Night: Silva vs. Irvin, winning by KO at 1:01 of the first round. On October 25, 2008, his next battle to defend his middleweight title against Patrick Côté ended abruptly when Côté hurt himself in the third round, giving him a TKO victory.
Anderson Silva set the UFC record with nine consecutive wins over Thales Leites at UFC 97 in April 2009, but his opponent was credited with bringing him through five rounds to a judges’ decision. On August 8, 2009, he fought again in a light heavyweight contest against former champion Forrest Griffin at UFC 101, winning by KO.
Despite winning by unanimous decision, he was severely chastised for failing to engage Demian Maia at UFC 112 on April 10, 2010, prompting UFC president Dana White to exit the boat in the middle for the first time. Silva’s last-second win over Chael Sonnen for the UFC Middleweight Title at UFC 117 generated headlines because he took more hits throughout the fight than he had in his whole UFC career up to that point.
He then defended his middleweight belt against Vitor Belfort, Yushin Okami, and Chael Sonnen, and then, in October 2012, he stopped Stephan Bonnar with blows in the first round of their light heavyweight encounter. However, his 17-fight winning streak and longest UFC title reign came to an end when he was defeated by Chris Weidman via KO in the second round on July 6, 2013, at UFC 162.
He also lost the rematch with Weidman, and owing to failing drug tests, he was replaced as one of the coaches for “The Ultimate Fighter: Brazil 4”. His victory over Nick Diaz on January 31, 2015, was declared a no-contest after he tested positive for drugs, and he was suspended for a year as a result.
He lost his middleweight match against Michael Bisping and his light heavyweight bout against Daniel Cormier after returning from his PED suspension. He rebounded with a win over Derek Brunson on February 11, 2017, and is set to meet Kelvin Gastelum at UFC Fight Night 122 on November 25, 2017.
Anderson Silva is a former Shooto Middleweight Champion as well as a former UFC Middleweight Champion. He holds several UFC records, including the most consecutive championship defenses, the most successful title defenses, the most consecutive wins in UFC history, and the longest victory streak in UFC history.
Personal History and Legacy
Anderson Silva married his longtime fiancée, former gymnast Dayane, in the summer of 2011, after 20 years together. They have two daughters and three sons. His wife participated in the feature film “Never Surrender,” which was released in 2009.