UFC Middleweight Champion and the world's pound-for-pound best MMA fighter, Anderson Silva, plans to leave the Octagon for good come 2009.
"I'll retire next year, I already gave my all. I don't need to prove anything for anyone and within one year I'll put my gloves aside," said Silva in a recent interview with Brazilian SporTV.
For most MMA fans the news of Silva's potential retirement hits harder than one of the fighter's vicious knees or elbows. Silva has been, without a doubt, the most exciting fighter to come to the UFC in two years, and watching him fight is always a pleasure due to his ability to end fights quickly and with style.
His last loss was even impressive as he somehow managed to knockout Yushin Okami with a strange looking kick while lying his back. Due to MMA rules, if an opponent has a knee on the canvas, kicks to the head are prohibited, which is why Silva was disqualified.
Nevertheless, Silva has been on an 8 fight win streak since then, 7 of the victories taking place in the UFC. Out of Silva's past 8 wins, 6 have been by knockout or TKO, 2 by submission, with none of the fights getting out of the second round. In fact, only 3 of the fights made it to the second round.
Silva recently tested the water in the light-heavyweight weight class, beating James Irvin with a slew of quick and powerful punches in a minute and one second. But it seems that Silva's journey towards the light-heavyweight crown might not happen if Silva makes good on his promise to retire in 2009, and what a shame that would be.
Silva took the middleweight belt after beating Rich Franklin who had 20 wins and only 1 loss when the two met in October 2006. Franklin left the fight with the bridge of his nose missing, seemingly disintegrated by the onslaught of knees Silva landed on Franklin's face.
The most recent elite fighter that Silva downed was former Pride middleweight and light-heavyweight champion, Dan Henderson. Henderson, known for his incredible wrestling, was submitted by Silva with a rear-naked choke in the second round.
Rumor has it that Silva will be leaving MMA to box competitively. The source of the rumor most likely stems from Silva's manager's comments after the Henderson fight, when he said Silva would love to fight Roy Jones Jr. in a boxing match. However, UFC President, Dana White, said he wouldn't allow that fight to happen while Silva was under contract with the UFC.
Silva's next fight is in defense of the middleweight belt and it takes place on October 25th in Chicago versus Patrick Cote. Given Silva's tendency to win fights without taking much damage, it is likely he will fight at least one more time before 2009.
Nevertheless, whatever Silva decides to do in 2009, let's hope for the sake of the competitive fighting world that it doesn't involve following through on his word to put his gloves aside.