This was Mariano Rivera painting the outside corner from 46 feet against Little Leaguers. This was Kobe Bryant one-on-one against the best player from your fifth-grade CYO team.

This was Anderson Silva thoroughly dominating yet another opponent -- this one was named Demian Maia -- during a middleweight title defense at UFC 112 in Abu Dhabi.

Silva, the pound-for-pound best fighter in the world, spent the first two-plus rounds imposing his will on Maia. Kicks, punches, taunts.

Yes, taunts. Massive, outrageous taunts. Borderline obnoxious taunts.

Silva wanted Maia to engage more in striking. Maia is a Brazilian jiu-jitsu master, and Silva is the best striker in the world, so those taunts seemed a bit silly from a strategic point of view.

But Silva was intense in his mocking. More extreme than anything you may remember from Roy Jones Jr. in his prime. It bordered on pro wrestling-type teasing. Even referee Dan Miragliotta could be seen smiling at some of the taunts.

Silva apologized after the fact, blaming it on ring rust and excitement and "not knowing what got into me."

advertisement | advertise on newsday

The antics of Silva (26-4) actually helped turned the crowd in Maia's favor in the last two rounds. Silva engaged far less frequently in those rounds. Maia actually threw a few punches then, too.

But there's nothing Maia could have done to beat Silva. There's nothing any middleweight can do to fight Silva except hope he forgets where the arena is. Silva is Roger Federer. He's Tiger Woods.

Silva is the best at what he does, and with no reasonable competition at 185 pounds, it's time to do something about it. Maia was the fourth-best option for this bout. Original opponent Vitor Belfort got hurt in training, Chael Sonnen was too beat-up from his last bout and Nate Marquardt was thoroughly hammered by Sonnen in that last bout.

That left Maia. That left a boy in a man's world.

READ: Silva so good, it's time he switches weight classes

@NewsdaySports

PHOTOS: UFC 112 in Abu Dhabi