When Michael Jordan was on his run competing as the greatest basketball player in the world, there was something special about seeing it all happen live.
It didn’t matter whether you were at the arena witnessing his amazing aerial acrobatics or just at home on the couch seeing him make moves over players like Craig Ehlo or Bryon Russell, it was just something to remember to say you saw Jordan at his best and in his prime doing amazing feats on the court.
It’s no different watching other players at the top of their game – saying you watched Wayne Gretzky win his final Stanley Cup or witnessed Pete Rose break Ty Cobb’s record or you had your eyes glued to the television as Joe Montana launched the football down the field to score a touchdown.
There’s something special about being a witness to greatness.
It’s for that very reason that everyone should be happy to tune in and see Anderson Silva face Stephan Bonnar at UFC 153.
Sure, on paper, it’s not the most compelling match-up and no one is denying that. Bonnar is 3-3 over his last six fights and just 8-6 overall during his UFC career. He also happens to be facing the greatest mixed martial artist of all time in Anderson Silva, and the odds are overwhelmingly in the champion’s favor despite the fact that he’s going up a weight class and taking the bout on short notice.
But the key to this entire match-up is the fact that Anderson Silva is the greatest fighter of all time, and there’s something to be said to just witnessing greatness in action.
Since joining the UFC in 2006, Silva’s statistics as a fighter are gaudy when compared to most other champions much less just other competitors inside the Octagon. He’s gone a perfect 15-0 in the UFC with a record-breaking 10 consecutive middleweight title defenses.
He’s finished 13 of his 15 opponents, and has been the main event or co-main event on every card he’s competed on since debuting in the UFC. Silva has demolished the best of the best the middleweight division could throw at him and just like he’ll do at UFC 153, he’s stepped up on two other occasions to fight at light heavyweight simply because the UFC asked him to do it.
Silva’s highlight reel is almost as impressive as the statistics that back up the claim that he is the greatest UFC champion that’s ever competed in the Octagon.
His catch of James Irvin‘s kick followed up by a one-punch knockout
His Matrix-like moves to avoid punches before socking Forrest Griffin in the face and dropping him to the mat like it was effortless.
His front face kick to the mush of Vitor Belfort.
And of course his fifth round comeback triangle choke submission to put Chael Sonnen away.
If anyone wants to point to his two decisions against Demian Maia and Thales Leites as less than stellar performances, go ahead, but even the great Michael Jordan didn’t win every single game he competed in during the NBA Finals.
And it’s the Jordan comparison that brings this full circle when talking about appreciating what Anderson Silva is about to do at UFC 153. No one will argue that it’s a top ten match-up or a championship super fight, and no one will tell you that Stephan Bonnar is the top name anyone would pick to dethrone Anderson Silva from his ultimate reign of destruction in the UFC.
But it’s no different than when Jordan went on his two separate tears through the NBA to win three consecutive titles during his career. When Jordan rematched the Utah Jazz during his final run with the Chicago Bulls, did anyone turn the channel because just about everybody had to know the greatest of all time was going to bring home another championship to the Windy City?
No, as a matter of fact, Jordan’s final run during the 1998 playoffs garnered the highest television ratings ever for an NBA finals.
It’s that philosophy that should apply in some part to Anderson Silva’s fight at UFC 153.
Granted, the UFC is asking you to plop down money to buy a pay-per-view versus watching Jordan do his thing on free TV, but think about this: at 37 years of age, Anderson Silva’s days are numbered inside the UFC.
While he’s waivered on several occasions talking about how much time he has left in fighting, let’s not kid ourselves into believing Silva is really going to stick around for much longer. He’s got a stock pile of cash in the bank, endorsement deals that will pay him a small fortune over his next few fights, and he also has a family at home that would surely love to see him spend time there as opposed to traveling and training so often for the UFC.
It may be one of the last times anyone gets to see Anderson Silva compete, and while watching any sporting event on video can be fun, there’s nothing like seeing it live. And in the world of MMA, there’s nothing better than seeing Anderson Silva ply his craft and do amazing things inside the cage live and in living color.
Much like Jordan’s finesse, composure and skill on the court, it’s just special to see Anderson Silva at his best and with his days in the UFC starting to count down, this might be one of the last few times you get the chance to see it live.
There’s just something special about witnessing greatness and learning to appreciate it while it’s still going on. Anderson Silva is the living personification of greatness in MMA and he’ll display that for everyone to see at UFC 153 in Brazil.
Stay tuned to MMAWeekly.com for your UFC 153 event coverage.