Perhaps it isn’t quite the high profile match-up that we have come to expect of an Anderson Silva bout but The Spider will return to the cage for the first time since July when he takes on Derek Brunson in the co-main event of UFC 208 in Brooklyn next month.
Silva looked to be a pale comparison of his former self when he stepped up on short notice to face light heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier at UFC 200 on just two days notice — entirely reasonably considering he had no training camp to speak off — but the Brunson bout, despite being relatively on relatively short notice itself, should be a good indicator of exactly where the 41-year-old former middleweight champion stands among the divisional elite as this stage of his career.
In Brunson, Silva faces an athletic striker who has won four of his last five fights by first round knockout. The one recent blemish, however, was the first round knockout he received at the at the hands (and kicks) of Robert Whitaker in Melbourne last November — a fight for which Brunson admitted he threw his gameplan out the window as he chased a finish of his own.
Walking own Anderson Silva, one of the sport’s most dangerous counter punchers, presents its own hazards but in an interview with Sportv, Silva outlined why he thinks Brunson is an extremely difficult challenge for him.
“He’s very young and that helps a lot, but we don’t usually focus on an opponent’s strong suits, we look for their weak spots. We need to be very careful around him, because he’s so dynamic”, Silva said.
“He’s very young and that helps a lot, but we don’t usually focus on an opponent’s strong suits, we look for their weak spots. We need to be very careful around him, because he’s so dynamic.”
Anderson Silva has not won a bout in over four years (the Nick Diaz victory was overturned by the commission) and if the fighter many people consider to be the GOAT is to rise the divisional rankings once more, you feel that a victory over Brunson is central to those ambitions.