Anderson Silva’s last UFC title fight will be burned into the memories of mixed martial arts fans for years to come.
Just over a minute into the second round of the main event at UFC 168 Silva, who was attempting to reclaim the middleweight strap he surrendered to Chris Weidman five months prior, threw a leg kick. Weidman, as training dictated, swiveled his knee to check the kick and in doing so shattered Silva’s fibula and tibia, ending the fight via TKO.
The image of a prone Silva, previously considered by some to be unbeatable, screaming in agony is an image that won’t soon be forgotten.
That night in December of 2013 will likely be the last time that The Spider will ever challenge for a UFC strap (though he says he still has eyes on UFC gold) but, as he prepares to face Derek Brunson in the co-main event of UFC 208 this weekend, Silva says he is at peace with how his career has transpired.
“I’ve already conquered everything, now I just want to have fun, to do what I love. I don’t feel any pressure”, Silva said to UFC.com. “I think I’ve already gone through all the phases of this sport. I’ve lost, I’ve won, I’ve got injured. Now it’s about doing what I love.”
Silva, who is now one of the UFC’s elder statesmen at 41 years of age, is taking on a man several years his junior on Saturday night and he knows that his showing will be an indicator of where he stands in the UFC’s 185-pound fold at this stage of his career.
“The challenge drew me in. He’s eight years younger, he suffered a loss, but he had a lot of wins before”, Silva said of Derek Brunson.
“When you have a story built with a lot of battle, determination and dedication, it’s hard to erase everything”, he explained. “With all I’ve done in the sport, and with what I still plan to do, there’s no way to erase it. Of course everything had an expiration date. For now my date is still there, but when the time comes and I feel that I can not do it anymore, I will stop. Nothing, the defeats or the setbacks, have hampered the fans’ respect and affection”, Silva added.
“There is always a renewal. There will be someone who will come up and become a big name of this sport in Brazil, and hopefully that happens soon.”