Anderson Silva will fight for the final time in his career on Saturday night.
Or it’s just his next UFC fight.
Silva continues to leave the door open to fighting with his comments as the surrounding narrative grows of a legend’s final walk. Still, his status and prominence isn’t lost on his opponent, Uriah Hall.
"Anderson Silva is a legend so I'm just excited to go out there and go up against the guy that I watched growing up," Hall said. "To me I made it. That’s how I look at it."
Hall, the No. 10-ranked middleweight in the UFC, will face the unranked Silva (that sounds weird, doesn’t it?) in the main event at UFC Fight Night in Las Vegas and streaming on ESPN+. No fans will be inside the UFC’s Apex facility for what may be the final fight for the man who reigned as middleweight champion for seven years and 10 consecutive title defenses (plus another two non-title fights at light heavyweight).
"Anderson has been someone I've idolized for years, so to me that's a trophy fight," Hall said. "It's a championship fight to me in my mind."
Hall, 36, who moved from the island of Jamaica to Queens as a child, keeps facing someone on such a pedestal in proper prospective. He doesn't sound like he's letting any such emotion enter into his mind frame.
"It’s a fight, man. It’s just work," Hall said. "You do the job and you get out. I mean, obviously, he's a legend. I respect him. But it's a fight. We all look at him in awe and all that. But it's a fight."
But it's a fight against Anderson Silva, once the platinum standard of mixed martial arts, and his name still carries plenty of weight as he ages out of the sport.
"I have the different emotions when people are talking about that," Silva said of the last-fight narrative. "But I'm very confident right now. I'm very happy because, [if] this is my last fight or not, I continue here and I do my best . . . Every single moment I go inside the cage, I go inside the cage with my heart and do my best and I try to make something very special. And let's go see the future. The future is very interesting."
The road for Hall (15-9) to reach this fight has been unique, even by 2020 standards. A winner of two in a row, Hall was supposed to face Ronaldo "Jacare" Souza last May when the UFC returned to hosting fights after taking two months off when the coronavirus pandemic shut down sports and much of the country. After weigh-ins, Jacare tested positive for COVID-19 and their fight was canceled. In August, Hall's next opponent, Yoel Romero, withdrew from their fight with less than two weeks to go because of an injury.
And now, finally, on Halloween, more than a year since his last bout, Hall faces Silva.
This Silva (34-10, 1 no contest) is 45 years old and playing coy with whether this is his "retirement fight." But he is 1-6 with one no contest since July 6, 2013, the night Long Island's Chris Weidman knocked out Silva, won the middleweight championship and ended what then was the UFC record for most consecutive title defenses in any weight class (10). In that time, there also were two suspensions— one for testing positive for steroids (which helped lead to the UFC partnering with the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency) and one for another positive test because of a contaminated supplement.
"I train for this fight for a couple months, I think four months," Silva said. "I feel very prepared and I feel confident."
He continued, and here, he sounded like maybe Saturday night will be his last fight.
"Let me tell you something, my friend, one [thing] you don't have control is about the timing," Silva said. "The moment I wake up in the morning, I try to enjoy the moment because I know the time is one [thing] I don't have control. In that sense, the life is amazing, is special. I try to make something special every single day for me. And for people behind me, close to me."
UFC Fight Night: Hall vs. Silva on Oct. 31
Main card, 7 p.m. Eastern on ESPN+
Uriah Hall vs. Anderson Silva
Andre Fili vs. Bryce Mitchell
Kevin Holland vs. Makhmud Muradov
Maurice Greene vs. Greg Hardy
Bobby Green vs. Thiago Moises
Prelims, 4 p.m. on ESPN+
Chris Gruetzemacher vs. Alexander Hernandez
Victor Rodriquez vs. Adrian Yanez
Jack Marshman vs. Sean Strickland
Cole Williams vs. Jason Witt
Dustin Jacoby vs. Justin Ledet
Cortney Casey vs. Priscila Cachoeira
Miles Johns vs. Kevin Natividad