A living legend returns to the Octagon this Saturday (Sunday in Manila) as Anderson ‘The Spider’ Silva (34-8, 1 NC) takes on #6 ranked middleweight contender Israel ‘The Last Stylebender’ Adesanya (15-0) in the co-main event of UFC 234 in Melbourne, Australia.
The now 43-year-old Brazilian striker is no stranger to the UFC fandom, once holding the distinction as the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world and arguably one of the best mixed martial artists of all time.
After a scintillating 16-0 start to his UFC career—which included 14 devastating knockouts and 10 consecutive Middleweight title defences— Silva came down to earth against Chris Weidman in UFC 162 in 2013 in a classic example of when showboating goes wrong.
Father Time has caught up with the lanky finisher since then, as he has only won one of his last five bouts in the octagon.
Silva vs Weidman II
Hellbent on reclaiming the title he held on for so long, Silva returned for an immediate rematch against Weidman at UFC 168. The Brazilian looked good against the champion and appeared to be winning the fight early on, up until disaster struck at the 3:48 mark of the second round.
What occurred next was one of the most gruesome injuries in all of MMA, as Silva’s left leg snapped after Weidman checked his leg kick attempt. The bout was ruled a TKO win for the champion, as the image of Silva clutching his broken leg in pain remains etched in viewers’ memories to this day.
Failed drug test
Most people believed that Silva’s fighting days were over after that unfortunate horrific injury, but he defied all odds and fought again in 2015 against Nick Diaz. Silva won convincingly with a unanimous decision victory in five rounds.
But his legacy was tainted after USADA revealed that he tested positive for two separate banned substances. Silva’s post-fight test results revealed traces of anabolic steroid Drostanolone and the diuretic Androsterone in his system. His win against Diaz was overturned and he was ultimately suspended by the Nevada Athletic Commission for one year.
Five-round war vs Bisping
Two of the most storied Middleweights collided in February 2016 when Silva and English fighter Michael Bisping threw down in epic five-round war. Both fighters had their moments in the fight with “The Count” rocking Silva twice in rounds 1 and 2, while Silva almost finished the fight in round 3 with an amazing flying knee just as the horn sounded. Bisping regrouped and pressured Silva in the latter rounds for a unanimous decision win.
LHW bout vs Cormier
Fierce rivals Daniel Cormier and Jon Jones were supposed to throw down for a Light Heavyweight title unification bout in the historic UFC 200 card in July 2016. But after Jones also tested positive for banned substances, Silva willingly stepped in as the replacement fighter on less than two days notice.
With his superior striking, Silva appeared to be getting the better of the stand-up exchanges against the Light Heavyweight champ. Cormier, however, used his massive size advantage over the former Middleweight champion and out-grappled Silva in their three-round non-title bout.
Breakthrough win against Brunson, another failed drug test
Refusing to hang up his gloves after four consecutive setbacks, Silva took on the hard-hitting Derek Brunson at UFC 208 in February 2017 in a back-and-forth three-round affair. Silva’s output and precise striking won him the bout, but some pundits assumed that Brunson’s power and significant strikes should have given him the nod.
USADA, however, once again flagged Silva for failing another drug test, as a sample collected on Oct. 26, 2017 tested positive for methyltestosterone metabolites and hydrochlorothiazide. He was again given a one-year ban and became eligible to return on Nov. 10, 2018.
Silva’s net worth heading to UFC 234
Since becoming the UFC’s poster boy when he first entered the promotion in 2006, Silva amassed a considerable amount of wealth throughout his almost 13-year tenure with the company.
A recent report had him as the sixth wealthiest professional MMA fighter in the world, with a net worth of $18 million in 2018—coming from remuneration of contracts, brand endorsements, and personal investments.
A separate report from Sportskeeda.com stated that Silva has earned around $6,822,000 throughout his UFC career.