Silva holds the longest title defense streak in UFC history, which ended in 2013 with 16 consecutive wins and 10 title defenses.
Silva made his professional debut in 1997 with a pair of wins. Silva recorded his first loss in 2000 to Luiz Azeredo by decision.
Before he began his career as a professional fighter, Silva worked at McDonalds.
In late November 2006, he joined new team Black House with Lyoto Machida, Vitor Belfort, Assuerio Silva, and the Nogueira brothers.
Anderson Silva was born April 14, 1975, a middle child of four. The son of a poverty-stricken family, Silva spent the majority of his childhood with his aunt and uncle, an officer with the Curitiba police force.
Silva first began training jiu-jitsu with neighborhood kids who could afford lessons. He explained his introduction to martial arts in an interview with FIGHT! Magazine: "When I started out, Jiu-Jitsu was really an elite thing in Brazil, and there was some prejudice towards poorer kids, so I had to learn things on my own... Some of my neighbors started doing Jiu-Jitsu, so I started watching it, and then started rolling with them. It wasn’t organized training, but it was better than nothing." By the age of thirteen his family was able to set aside enough money to start him in Tae Kwon Do lessons, from which he moved on to Capoeira, before finally settling on Muay Thai at the age of sixteen.
Before he began his career as a professional fighter, Silva worked at McDonald's, and also as a file clerk. He considers Spider-Man, Bruce Lee, Muhammad Ali and his mother as biggest of his personal heroes, and has a stated love of comic books and comic book heroes.
Although known primarily for his mastery of Muay Thai striking, Silva is also a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt, a rank he earned in 2005 from Antônio Rodrigo Nogueira who follows the Gracie Lineage through Carlson Gracie, like Murilo Bustamante and the Brazilian Top Team. He began martial arts training at the age of 13, training Tae Kwon Do and earning a black belt by the age of 18. He is also a black belt in Judo, a yellow rope in Capoeira and is a professional boxer.
Once a member of the Chute Boxe Academy, Silva left to form the Muay Thai Dream Team. In late November 2006, he joined new team Black House with Lyoto Machida, Vitor Belfort, Assuerio Silva, and the Nogueira brothers.
Silva initially fought in his native Brazil in the welterweight category. Silva made his professional debut in 1997 with a pair of wins. Silva recorded his first loss in 2000 to Luiz Azeredo by decision. After that fight, he went on a nine-fight winning streak, winning six of those fights by either submission or TKO. After winning his first match in Japan, he was put up against Shooto champion Hayato Sakurai on August 26, 2001. Silva beat Sakurai by unanimous decision after three rounds and became the new Shooto Middleweight Champion (at 167 lb) and the first man to defeat Sakurai who was undefeated in his first 20 fights.
In 2002, Silva began fighting in Pride. In his first fight with the promotion, he stopped Alex Stiebling with a cut resulting from a high kick. In his next match, he won via decision against the "Diet Butcher" Alexander Otsuka. At Pride 25, Silva faced former UFC welterweight champion Carlos Newton. Newton tried to shoot in on Silva, but was hit with a flying knee. Newton collapsed and Silva finished the fight with strikes, winning by technical knockout.
At Pride 26, Silva faced Daiju Takase. Takase, with a record of four wins and seven losses, was the underdog. However Silva was dominated on the ground for almost the entire fight before being submitted by Takase when caught in a triangle choke late in the first round. After his loss to Takase, Silva became demotivated and thought about quitting MMA, but was convinced to keep on fighting by Antônio Rodrigo Nogueira. Silva then left Chute Boxe, joined Nogueira in Brazilian Top Team and started to fight in other promotions around the world. On June 27, 2004, Silva fought Jeremy Horn and earned a decision victory.
Three months later, Silva made his debut in the Cage Rage promotion in England. At Cage Rage 8 Silva fought and defeated noted striker Lee Murray by decision. That year, Silva returned to Pride FC on December 31 to face Ryo Chonan. Silva was in control with a take down and body triangle in the first round. Chonan was able to counter Silva's knees from the clinch, with knees, and takedowns. Chonan was perceived by some to be winning up until the finish. During the third round, Bas Rutten, commentating alongside Mauro Ranallo, stated that he believed Anderson must obtain a knockout or strong finish or he would lose the fight. Despite being the underdog, Chonan ended the fight in the third round with a rare flying scissor heel hook, forcing Silva to submit. After the loss to Chonan he was cut by Pride, Silva continued fighting in the Cage Rage promotion, as well as other promotions around the world. Silva defended his Cage Rage title against Curtis Stout.
Although he was slated to fight Matt Lindland at Cage Rage 16, Lindland's decision to fight Mike Van Arsdale at Raze Fight Night put an end to the highly anticipated match up. Instead, Silva defended his championship against Tony Fryklund, winning the fight with a reverse elbow, knocking out Fryklund early in the first round.
Silva competed in Hawaii's Rumble on the Rock promotion, where he fought Yushin Okami in the first round of the 175 lb tournament. Though labeled as a favorite to win the tournament, Silva was eliminated from the tournament when he kicked Okami in the face from the guard position. Okami's knees were on the ground at the time, making the attack an illegal strike to the head of a downed opponent. Silva later said that the rule had not been properly explained to him before the bout. "When I fought Okami the rules really weren't explained to me properly in the event I was fighting in," said Silva. "You could kick a downed opponent to the groin or to the head when your back's on the ground. So the rules weren’t explained to me properly." While Okami was given the opportunity to recover and continue fighting, Okami opted for the disqualification win. Silva responded by saying he "felt it was a cheap, cowardly way of winning," and that "people that were there saw that he was in the condition to come back and keep fighting, and he didn't."
Although speculation ran rampant about where Silva would sign next, the UFC announced in late April 2006 that they had signed him to a multi-fight contract. It was not long before the UFC started promoting Silva, releasing an interview segment almost immediately after announcing his arrival.
Silva made his debut at Ultimate Fight Night 5 on June 28, 2006. His opponent was The Ultimate Fighter 1 contestant Chris Leben who had gone undefeated in the UFC with five consecutive victories. Leben, confident of victory, had predicted he would KO Silva in a pre-fight interview. A relatively unknown fighter in the United States, Silva made an emphatic debut when he knocked out Leben with a flurry of pinpoint strikes, followed by a final knee strike at 49 seconds into the first round. Silva's striking accuracy was 85%.
In response to the victory, the UFC tallied a poll on their main page, asking viewers to select Silva's next opponent. The majority of voters selected the UFC Middleweight Champion Rich Franklin. Silva fought Franklin at UFC 64 on October 14, 2006, and defeated him by TKO (strikes) at 2:59 in the first round. Silva hit Franklin with knees to the body from the Muay Thai-clinch, then badly broke Franklin's nose with a knee to the face. Unable to strike back, Franklin dodged the last of Silva's strikes before falling to the ground, where referee "Big" John McCarthy ended the fight. Silva was crowned the new UFC Middleweight Champion, becoming the second man to defeat Franklin, after Black House-teammate Lyoto Machida.
On February 3, 2007, at UFC 67, Silva was scheduled to fight The Ultimate Fighter 4 winner Travis Lutter in what would be his first title defense since defeating Rich Franklin in October 2006. However, Lutter failed to make the 185 pounds (84 kg) weight limit and the match was changed to a non-title bout. Many felt that Lutter's best chance to win was to take the fight to the ground, with Lutter being an accomplished Jiu-Jitsu blackbelt. Silva won via submission with a combination of a triangle choke and elbow strikes in the second round.
In his next fight at UFC 73 on July 7, 2007, Silva successfully defended his title against Nate Marquardt, winning by TKO at 4:50 in the first round. Three months later, on October 20, 2007, at UFC 77, Silva fought a title defense rematch against Rich Franklin, in Franklin's hometown of Cincinnati, Ohio, at the U.S. Bank Arena. Silva defended his belt by defeating Franklin via TKO in the 2nd round. On March 1, 2008, at UFC 82 Silva fought Pride Middleweight champion Dan Henderson, in a title unification bout (UFC and Pride titles on the line). Henderson was believed to have the edge on the ground, having competed in the 1992 and 1996 Summer Olympics in Greco-Roman wrestling. Silva defended his title by defeating Henderson via rear naked choke in the 2nd round. At UFC Fight Night: Silva vs. Irvin on July 19, 2008, Silva made his debut at Light Heavyweight (205 lb (93 kg)) in a bout against James Irvin. Silva won via KO due to strikes in 1:01 of the first round after catching Irvin's attempted leg kick with his left arm and delivering a straight right that dropped Irvin to the mat, Silva then finished a prone Irvin with a blitz of punches to the head. Irvin later tested positive for methadone and oxymorphone.
Silva's next fight was on October 25, 2008, at UFC 90 in Rosemont, Illinois, Silva defended his Middleweight title against Patrick Côté. In the third round, Côté landed awkwardly on his right leg while throwing a kick and fell to the mat grasping his right knee in pain. Referee Herb Dean declared the fight over when Côté could not continue, ruling the bout a TKO victory for Silva. Côté, however, became the first of Silva's UFC opponents to make it past the 2nd round. After his fight with Côté, Silva was criticized for seemingly avoiding contact during the bout. Dana White criticized Silva, saying: "I didn't understand Silva's tactics... It wasn't the Anderson Silva I've been watching the last two years." Silva said in the post-fight news conference:
"There are many people saying I was disrespecting Cote, but this is absolutely not true. My game plan since the beginning was fight five rounds, inducing him to commit mistakes and capitalize on that during the first three rounds and look for the knockout during the fourth and fifth rounds. It was working, and the biggest proof of that is that I almost didn’t waste any blows. I connected with a couple of good punches and knees, but unfortunately he got hurt and the fight was over. This is not my fault."
On April 18, 2009, at UFC 97 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, Anderson Silva defeated Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu blackbelt Thales Leites by unanimous decision, and recorded his UFC record 9th consecutive win in the octagon. Thales Leites is credited with being the first man in UFC history to take Silva through 5 rounds to a judges' decision. The crowd repeatedly booed his lackluster performance, bored expression, and frustrated attempts to goad his opponent into fighting, and in the 4th and 5th rounds took to dancing, lowering his guard and slapping his opponent without retaliation. Following the fight, Dana White has stated that he was "embarrassed" by Silva's performance, but still said that he believes him to be "the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world".
At UFC 101 which took place on August 8, 2009, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Silva again fought at 205 pounds against former UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Forrest Griffin. Griffin was knocked down three times in the first round. The bout earned Silva Beatdown of the Year honors from Sherdog. The bout shared those honors with the second bout between Brock Lesnar and Frank Mir. Both fighters were awarded $60,000 as Fight of the Night bonuses and Silva received $60,000 in bonus money for Knockout of the Night.
After defeating Griffin, a Yahoo! Sports reporter allegedly claimed that Silva's manager, Ed Soares, had confirmed that Silva would abandon his Middleweight belt to fight at Light Heavyweight. However, Soares and a UFC spokesperson confirmed that a conversation agreeing Silva would permanently move up to Light Heavyweight never took place. Silva did not relinquish his title to fight exclusively at Light Heavyweight. Soares stated his attorney plans to speak to Yahoo! Sports about the matter.
Silva was expected to defend the UFC Middleweight Championship against Vitor Belfort on January 2, 2010, at UFC 108. However, Ed Soares announced that the bout would not take place as Silva would not be fully recovered from surgery. Silva was then set to face Belfort on February 6, 2010, at UFC 109. The fight, however, was dependent on Silva's healing, which he described as "not going as planned." The fight was canceled because of Silva's slow recovery. Silva was once again scheduled to face Belfort on April 10, 2012, at UFC 112. The fight was later canceled again due to an injury to Belfort. Demian Maia was selected to fill the spot and take on Silva for the belt.
In the first two rounds fighting Maia, Silva appeared to mock his opponent while employing quick, precise striking. In the third round, however, Silva's tempo seemed to change. He looked to Maia to be the aggressor while he largely circled and taunted his opponent. In the fifth round, Silva's lack of action prompted referee Dan Miragliotta to warn Silva for his conduct. The crowd began to side with Maia, who was the only fighter attempting to engage. After 5 rounds, Silva was declared the winner via unanimous decision.
Silva was widely criticized for his performance. Dana White said it was the most embarrassed he had ever been since becoming UFC president. Midway through the fourth round, White walked away from the fight and gave the championship belt to Silva's manager, Ed Soares. White was so annoyed that he declined to personally place the belt around Silva's waist, claiming it was the first time he had done so after a title match. It was also claimed that Silva verbally taunted Maia, saying, "Come on, hit me in the face, playboy." In the immediate post-fight interview, Silva apologized and said that he wasn't himself and that he would need to go back and reevaluate the humility that got him to where he is. In the post-fight interview, Silva made multiple references about how Demian insulted him before the bout. However, the pre-fight banter was seen by many as not out of the ordinary.
On August 7, 2010, Silva faced Chael Sonnen for the UFC Middleweight Title at UFC 117. In the first round, Sonnen stunned Silva with a punch before taking him down and dominating from the top position, landing multiple blows. The following three rounds played out in a similar fashion, going to the ground early with Sonnen dominating from inside Silva's guard. In the fifth round, Silva slipped after being tagged by Sonnen's left hook and the challenger took advantage by once again establishing a top position and delivering strikes to Silva. With about two minutes left in the round, Silva was able to lock up a triangle armbar on Sonnen, forcing Sonnen to submit at 3:10 of Round 5.
Silva was hit more in the fight than in his entire UFC career up till that point. According to CompuStrike, in his first 11 UFC fights, Silva was hit 208 times. Sonnen hit him a total of 289 times. After the bout it was revealed that Sonnen would have won a judges' decision. All three judges had Sonnen marked as the winner of all four rounds, judges Nelson Hamilton and Dan Stell had Sonnen taking Round 1 10–8, as well as Hamilton awarding the challenger another 10–8 total in Round 3. Silva later claimed to have gone into the fight with a cracked rib and that a doctor advised him not to fight. Dana White announced that Sonnen would get a rematch upon Silva return.
Following the fight the California State Athletic Commission confirmed that Chael Sonnen tested positive for synthetic testosterone, with his test having revealed a high testosterone to epitestosterone ratio, indicative of testosterone replacement therapy. The promised rematch was revoked after the issue with his testosterone ratio came to light, however, after Sonnen came back and won two straight fights, Dana White scheduled the rematch.
Silva faced Vitor Belfort on February 5, 2011, at UFC 126. Belfort was expected to face Yushin Okami on November 13, 2010, at UFC 122, but was replaced by Nate Marquardt. After a "feeling out" period of about two and a half minutes in the first round, Silva and Belfort started to trade strikes. Silva landed a front kick to Belfort's jaw and followed up with punches to the grounded challenger. Referee Mario Yamasaki stopped the fight at 3:25 into the first round. With the win Silva handed Belfort his first KO loss in 28 career fights and extended his record streak of title defenses to eight. Silva then faced Yushin Okami on August 27, 2011, at UFC 134. He defeated the Japanese middleweight by TKO at 2:04 of round 2, displaying skilled head movement and accurate striking. His record then went to 31–4, avenging his DQ loss to Okami back in 2006.
A rematch with Chael Sonnen was to take place on June 23, 2012, at UFC 147, but the bout was moved back to July 7, 2012, at UFC 148, while the expected co-feature of the Brazilian event, a rematch between Vitor Belfort and Wanderlei Silva would headline the event. The change was due to a scheduling conflict with the UN Conference Rio+20, which occurred during the same time frame as UFC 147. At UFC 148, after again being dominated throughout the first round, Silva stopped Sonnen in the second with a TKO.
He became the first to stop Stephan Bonnar via strikes in the 1st round of a light heavyweight bout on October 13, 2012, at UFC 153.
Silva faced Chris Weidman on July 6, 2013, at UFC 162. He lost by KO in the second round, ending his streak of the longest title reign in UFC history.
A rematch was held at UFC 168 on December 28. Weidman dominated the first round; it was reported that Silva may have also cracked his shin bone against Weidman during the first leg check. In the second round Weidman checked one of Silva's leg kicks again, breaking Silva's left fibula and tibia and ending the fight via TKO. Immediately after the fight, Silva had orthopedic surgery to stabilize his tibia with an intramedullary rod; his fibula was reset and was not expected to require further surgery. A UFC statement called the surgery "successful" and said those with similar injuries generally take three to six months to recover.
Despite calls for Silva to retire from MMA, it was confirmed on July 29, 2014, that Silva would return to the organization. Before UFC 179, Silva and UFC agreed on a new, 15-fight contract that replaced their previous deal which had eight fights remaining.
On October 29, 2014, it was announced that Silva would coach opposite Maurício Rua for The Ultimate Fighter: Brazil 4, which began filming in early 2015. Despite being coaches on the show, the two fighters will not face each other at the end of the season. Silva's continued participation was briefly in doubt during the filming after the announcement of his failed drug test. Initially, Dana White announced that Silva would remain on the show as a coach. Subsequently, Silva was pulled as one of the coaches and was replaced by Antônio Rodrigo Nogueira.
In his first fight post-injury, Silva faced Nick Diaz in the main event of UFC 183 on January 31, 2015. He won the fight via unanimous decision. In the days after the fight, it was revealed that Silva tested positive for Drostanolone and Androstane, two anabolic steroids, in pre-fight drug screening on January 9, 2015. Nevada State Athletic Commission chairman Francisco Aguilar confirmed that the fight has not yet been overturned and can't be until a motion is passed by a majority of the commission. Any penalties, suspensions or changes to the outcome of the fight have to be presented as a motion and then voted on by the commission to enact the order. On February 11, 2015, it was reported that Silva tested positive for an additional unknown illegal substance in a separate test that was related to UFC 183. On February 17, 2015, NSAC executive director Bob Bennett confirmed to ESPN.com that Silva failed his postfight urine test and that Silva had tested positive for the steroid Drostanolone—the same banned substance he tested positive for during an out-of-competition test taken on January 9, 2015. Silva also tested positive for the anti-anxiety medication Oxazepam and Temazepam, which is used to treat sleep deprivation.
On August 13, after several reschedules, the disciplinary hearing was held to decide on the subject. Silva's defense argued that a tainted sexual enhancement drug that a friend had given to Silva after a trip to Thailand was the root of the two failed tests for drostanolone and also appealed to mistakes in the NSAC testing procedures, pointing to a pair of drug tests, one on Jan. 19 and one after the fight, which Silva passed. He admitted to using both benzodiazepines the night prior to the fight as therapy to control stress and help him sleep. Silva's team was unable to explain the presence of androsterone in the Jan. 9 test. The commission rejected the defense and suspended him for one year retroactive to the date of the fight, as the current guidelines were not in effect at the time of the failed tests. He was also fined his full win bonus, as well as 30% of his show money, totaling $380,000. His victory was overturned to a no contest.
In his first fight after his PED suspension was lifted, Silva faced Michael Bisping on February 27, 2016, at UFC Fight Night 84. He lost the fight via unanimous decision. However, the fight was not without controversy as at the end of round three Silva dropped Bisping with a flying knee while Bisping was signaling to referee Herb Dean that he lost his mouthpiece. Silva believed he had won the bout and continued to celebrate as referee Herb Dean said the fight was not over, and it continued for another two rounds to the decision. Both participants were awarded Fight of the Night honors.
Silva was expected to face Uriah Hall on May 14, 2016, at UFC 198. However, Silva pulled out of the bout on May 10 after requiring a surgery to remove his gallbladder. As a result, Hall did not compete at the event.
Silva was a short notice replacement to face current UFC Light Heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier in a non-title bout on July 9, 2016, at UFC 200. Silva lost the fight via unanimous decision.
Silva faced Derek Brunson on February 11, 2017, at UFC 208. He was awarded unanimous decision victory. 19 of 23 media outlets scored the bout in favor of Brunson.
Silva was expected to face Kelvin Gastelum on June 3, 2017 at UFC 212. However, Gastelum was pulled from the match-up after testing positive for marijuana. In turn, despite having two months to secure an opponent, Silva and promotion officials confirmed on May 11 that he would not compete at that event.
The bout with Gastelum was rescheduled and is expected to take place on November 25, 2017 at UFC Fight Night 122.
Silva is a well rounded fighter whose striking ability is considered to be one of the best in MMA. Silva's striking accuracy, knockout power, technically vicious Muay Thai and ability to counterstrike makes him a danger to his opponents. Silva's striking uses three major strengths: technical precision, the jab, and transitions and movement. Silva switches from southpaw to orthodox with little drop-off in effectiveness. Although it has been claimed that his ground game is not as good as his stand-up, Silva has submitted notable grapplers, including Olympic wrestler Dan Henderson, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu blackbelt Travis Lutter and Olympic alternate Chael Sonnen.
Silva holds several statistical records in the UFC including: Most all-time knockdowns in UFC history (17), No. 1 in significant strike accuracy (67.8%), Longest all-time UFC win streak (16), Most title fight victories (11), Most UFC title defenses (10) and Longest reign by days (3993).
Anderson Silva is marketed by 9INE, a sports marketing company co-owned by former Brazilian footballer Ronaldo. Since August 2011, Anderson has been sponsored by Sport Club Corinthians Paulista, his favorite football club. He is also sponsored by fast food chain Burger King. Previously he had also sponsorship deal with sportswear and equipment supplier Nike, which ended in late 2014 due to Nike's self removal from the UFC. Recently, Silva has been heavily publicized by beer brand Budweiser, including a TV ad, with an adaptation of the brand's motto "Great times are coming" with the word "Back", signaling that Silva is returning.
Silva has three sons and two daughters with his wife, Dayane. Silva appeared in the feature film Never Surrender (2009), as an underground cage fighter. A documentary about Silva called Like Water, was released in 2011.
In a 2008 interview with MMA Weekly, Anderson Silva's manager stated: "Anderson would love to fight Roy Jones Jr. in a boxing match up under boxing rules to prove that MMA fighters are technical, too." UFC president, Dana White, later expressed that he would use his veto power to stop such a match from taking place because he does not need his fighters getting themselves injured while fighting outside of the octagon. Silva, however, has commented: "After my contract with the UFC is finished, I will set up the fight with Jones Jr. The fight has already been permitted by Jones himself." In April 2009, Jones himself confirmed he is still interested in fighting Silva: "I'm going to try and make it happen. He's saying he wants to fight me, so, OK, I'm ready. Let's brawl." Roy Jones Jr. was in attendance at UFC 101.
Silva has said on numerous occasions that he believes long-time friend and former UFC Lightweight Champion and UFC Welterweight Champion B.J. Penn to be the greatest pound-for-pound fighter in the history of the sport.
Silva is also a professional boxer with a record 1-1 with 1 knockout.
Silva has also acted in seven films. The latest was a Netflix reality show in 2017.
Silva has also expressed interest in competing in the sport of taekwondo. In April 2015, Silva wrote a letter to the Brazilian Taekwondo Confederation in the hopes of representing Brazil in taekwondo at the 2016 Summer Olympics. The Brazilian Taekwondo Confederation has expressed interest in Silva competing for Brazil.. His participation was ruled out after two failed drug tests after MMA fights.
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