The question coming into UFC 208 was a simple one: He’s 41 years old and winless in five years, so what are we to make of Anderson Silva now?
He was one of the greatest legends in mixed martial arts during the past decade, but is Silva anything more than an attraction fighter now? Someone who continues to carry the star power to appeal to fans from all countries but who can’t deliver on his legendary skills and showcases inside the octagon anymore?
Well, Silva answered those questions Saturday night at Barclays Center in Brooklyn. He showed he still can punch and kick. He showed he still can entertain a crowd of thousands there to cheer on their Brazilian hero. He showed he still can take a punch and walk through it en route to unleashing some punishment of his own.
And, perhaps most importantly, he showed he still knows how to win a fight, beating Derek Brunson by unanimous decision, 29-28, 29-28, 30-27.
It was the first win for Silva since he beat Stephen Bonnar at UFC 153 on Oct. 13, 2012. Since then, he lost twice to Long Island’s Chris Weidman in 2013 (suffering a broken leg in the rematch), had a win over Nick Diaz changed into a no contest after a positive drug test in 2015, lost to Michael Bisping last February, then lost to Daniel Cormier at UFC 200 last July in a fight he accepted on three days’ notice against the light heavyweight champion.
“I know I’m too old for fighting,” Silva said. “I know.”
Silva (34-8, one no contest) was half-joking as he said that. His performance in the cage would suggest that the former UFC middleweight champion might be able to fight for a few more years.
Silva’s sprawls to defend against takedown shots by Brunson (16-5) were as quick as ever. He was able to withstand flurries from Brunson while in the clinch. And he was able to dictate the pace of the fight for all three rounds.
Said Brunson, “Everyone is telling me that I won. I feel terrible. It’s not Anderson’s fault or the UFC’s fault. I took this fight on short notice and to have this happen is just crazy to me. I take this seriously. This is my job. I put everything into this and I got robbed.”