Friday, September 14, 2012

Anderson “The Spider” Silva’s Next Prey?

The Amazing Brazilian Spider-Man: Anderson Silva
(from top counter clockwise, Okami, Vitor Belfort, Dan Henderson, Rich Franklin, & Chael Sonnen)
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In the animal kingdom, spiders are one of the most diversified and successful species of predators on the planet and rank near the top of the predatory chain. Near, because they also have their fair share of predators which they need to be aware of at all times. In the MMA universe, Anderson Silva is the preeminent predator atop its food chain.

Silva has been undefeated for the past six years and barely tested. He has reached an iconic status in MMA. He is in the pantheon of athletic greats who dominated their respective sports like no other. If it wasn’t for his chosen nickname and favorite superhero, Marvel’s Spiderman, he would have an “S” on his chest because Silva truly is super. But all superheroes and apex predators have challenges.

Two years ago, only Chael Sonnen was able to present a very formidable challenge before succumbing to the spider’s web of skills as so many have. And when a conviction of elevated testosterone use was revealed following the fight, Silva’s victory looked all the more impressive. In the rematch, Silva said he was fine, including his ribs which he said were injured in their first fight. Still, Sonnen used his ground game to make the first round questionable, but nothing else as he was not dominant with his grounf and pound style. And once Silva kept the fight on his feet, Sonnen could do little more than lose. And lose quickly he did. After Sonnen misfired with a Silva-like backfist, he stumbled and Silva was able to inflict his venom as if he did have eight legs.

And with such a resounding victory, the rest of the MMA world was left to ponder: Who can beat the man known as The Spider? Better yet, who can challenge him?

Fans and writers have looked up and down, from the smaller (but very inactive), welterweight champion George St. Pierre to the larger (and similarly dominant), light heavyweight champion Jon Jones. Silva, for the most part, has maintained a neutral vision, looking neither up nor down. He is comfortable where he is at. But aren’t all apex predators?

In nature, it takes many years of climate change to produce significant threats to the predator that’s atop the food change. Maybe a new up-and-comer will come to dethrone the old dominant force. Or maybe, just maybe, Silva is that ultra-rare species that is dethroned through everyone’s conqueror: Time.

Until then, foes should steer clear of The Spider's web.

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