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The Rear Naked Column 01.31.14: Top 10 Anderson Silva Moments
Posted by Samer Kadi on 01.31.2014

I hate top 10 lists, at least in MMA. For the most part, they're quite lazy, lack much thought, and create needless controversy. Admittedly, this list will be no different. However, it is one I felt was necessary given its subject. A month ago, the greatest fighter to ever grace the sport suffered a gruesome leg injury that put his career in jeopardy. Anderson Silva's future might be uncertain, but his past is anything but. A man who has delivered so many jaw-dropping moment warrants a tribute.

10) PRIDE 25: Body Blow: Anderson Silva introduces Carlos Newton to his knee (March 16, 2003)

Anderson Silva's PRIDE run was disappointing by any standards, let alone the ones he would later set during his legendary UFC run. Shocking losses to Daiju Takase and Ryo Chonan will forever blemish his otherwise near-impeccable resume. And yet, Silva did show flashes of brilliance that proved to be a sign of things to come.

9) UFC 134: Anderson Silva puts on a show in Brazil (August 27, 2011)

In its first trip to Brazil under Zuffa management, it was only fitting for the UFC to headline its UFC 134 with its greatest Brazilian. And greatness is exactly what was in order as Silva put on an unforgettable display of confidence and virtuosity to dispose of his Japanese foe.

8) Cage Rage 16: Anderson Silva's Matrix Elbow (April 22, 2006)

Anderson Silva saw a preposterous move in a video game and thought he could replicate it in real life. His camp advised him against it. They were wrong. No further explanation is needed.

7) UFC 82: Anderson Silva chokes out Dan Henderson (March 1, 2008)

With Silva's reign of terror over the middleweight division growing from fight to fight, Dan Henderson was believed to be the man to topple "The Spider". Henderson came in as the reigning PRIDE champion and this was his chance to unify the belts. His style was thought to be the perfect antidote for Silva, as his wrestling, heavy hands and granite chin meant he could take Anderson's best shots and put him on his back. The first round went according to the plan for the former Olympic wrestler, as he was able to take Silva down and control him despite not landing any significant damage. Anderson came out with an added sense of urgency in round two, stuffing Hendo's first takedown attempt and delivering two crushing knees that marked the beginning of the end. Silva would then take Hendo's back, secure the body triangle and choke him out with seconds remaining in the round.

6) UFC Ultimate Fight Night 5: Welcome to the Octagon, Anderson Silva (June 28, 2006)

"After this fight he'll go back to Japan where the competition is easier." -- Chris Leben.

Silva scored two knockdowns in the first 40 seconds before separating Leben from consciousness 9 seconds later.

5) UFC 148: Silva vs. Sonnen II (July 7, 2012)

You know the back-story. it was one of the most heated feuds in UFC history, and this was one of the most anticipated rematches in UFC history. It is difficult to explain the hype and electricity in the air leading up to this one. After dominating the first round, Sonnen saw fit to throw a spinning back elbow...it didn't end well.

4) Anderson Silva rearranges Rich Franklin's face...twice.

The two fights went so similarly that it was difficult to separate one from the other. The best display of the Muay Thai clinch in the history of mixed martial arts.

3) UFC 101: Anderson Silva schools Forrest Griffin (August 8, 2009)

After two back-to-back bizarre performances against Patrick Coté and Thales Leites, the UFC needed someone to challenge the dominant middleweight kingpin. Silva and his manager expressed desire in a temporary move to the light-heavyweight division, much to the UFC's delight. Awaiting him was former UFC light-heavyweight champion Forrest Griffin. What unfolded remains in my mind, the greatest Octagon performance to date. Silva simply toyed with Griffin, showing some otherworldly head movement to avoid Forrest's punches and countered with laser-like precision. Silva dropped the popular Griffin three times in three minutes, the last of which resulting in a fight-ending knockout.

2) UFC 117: Anderson Silva comes back from the dead (August 7, 2010)

"Moments" don't come more spine-chilling than Silva's come-from-behind submission of Chael Sonnen at UFC 117. He may have been dominated for four and a half rounds, but Silva showed the heart, courage, desire and awareness to rally back with less than two minutes remaining on the clock. This is the kind of stuff legends are made of.

1) UFC 126: He front kicked him in the face! (February 5, 2011)

No words needed once again.To do it to one of the greatest strikers in MMA history in a major title fight is nothing short of astounding.


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