anderson-silva-44.jpg(This story appears in today’s edition of USA TODAY.)

The UFC sent out an e-mail Monday with quotes from 18 of its most well-known fighters, all of whom mostly agreed on two things: Middleweight champion Anderson Silva is probably the best fighter in MMA history, and he’s about to get beat up by a guy from Long Island with nine pro fights to his credit.

For nearly seven years, Silva (33-4 MMA, 16-0 UFC) has enjoyed an uninterrupted reign atop the UFC’s middleweight division. He also has made occasional forays up to the light heavyweight class, where he embarrassed one former champion and toyed with other opponents like a house cat dissecting a dragonfly.

But Silva is 38. When he takes on challenger Chris Weidman (9-0 MMA, 5-0 UFC) at Las Vegas’ MGM Grand Garden Arena on Saturday at UFC 162 (pay-per- view, 10 p.m. ET), he’ll be gunning for his 17th consecutive UFC win and 11th successful title defense in a row. Both would be UFC records. Even if he lost and retired, he’d still be regarded as the best middleweight of all time, maybe the best pound-for- pound fighter in the sport.

Silva, of course, has no intention of losing or retiring. He recently signed a 10-fight deal with the UFC that, at his current pace, would take him well past his 40th birthday. He intends to fight every one of those bouts, he said this week, though he insists it isn’t money or a hunger for glory that’s driving him.

“What motivates me is to be able to do what I love to do, which is to fight,” Silva told USA TODAY Sports through an interpreter. “I love to fight. I love the preparation. I love to learn new things, always overcoming myself. I love being in the gym and everything involved in it.”

The longer he sticks around, however, the more the feeling grows that even Silva’s greatness must have an expiration date. UFC President Dana White has likened the champ to a temperamental artist who is at times difficult to negotiate with, but not necessarily in a bad way.

If Silva keeps winning long enough to fulfill his ambitious 10-fight deal, White told news reporters this week, “Nobody better ever deny this guy’s the greatest of all time.”

And yet, that’s something Silva won’t admit to thinking about himself. At least, not yet.

“He’s never said to me that he thinks he’s the greatest,” said Silva’s longtime manager, Ed Soares. “What he’s said is, ‘Ed, I think I can do things that other people think are impossible.’”

Maintaining his dominance into his 40s would be a seemingly impossible feat, especially as younger fighters such as Weidman look for ways to upset him.

The theory is that Weidman’s takedowns and ferocious finishing power will present a difficult matchup for Silva. Pundits and fellow fighters point to similarly equipped wrestlers who gave Silva trouble in the past, yet they conveniently leave out the fact that he found a way to beat them in the end.

The forecasts of his impending demise seem to amuse Silva, who approaches each title defense with detachment.

“In my house, there is a guessing tree,” Silva said of his peers’ predictions. “But it never guesses anything right.”

Still, the history of prizefighting shows that every great champion gets done in by age eventually. Silva’s vow to keep fighting suggests he’s intent on discovering his limits in the cage, regardless of the cost.

“I really believe he’ll know when to hang it up,” Soares said. “But right now, he seems to be getting better and better.”

He’s also getting wealthier and more famous with each victory, both of which are more important to Silva than he will admit, White says.

“He does care about his legacy,” White said. “And none of them like to say it in public, (but) he cares about making money, too.”

If Silva doesn’t see himself as the greatest already, it’s hard to imagine what more it would take. A victory against largely untested Weidman? A win in a superfight with fellow champions Jon Jones or Georges St- Pierre? Silva can’t — or maybe just won’t—say.

“It’s not one specific thing,” he said. “It’s not that there’s something missing. It’s just a question of being able to say that once I’m finished.

“Maybe one day when I’m retired, I can turn around and tell you, ‘Hey, I was really good at that. Maybe I was the best.’”

For the latest on UFC 162, stay tuned to the UFC Rumors section of the site.

view original article >>
Report here if this news is invalid.

Related News

Watch today's UFC 189/TUF 21 Finale press conference on MMAjunkie at 2 p.m. ET

  • 22 days ago
  • 0 views

LAS VEGAS – Join us for a live stream of today’s UFC 189/The Ultimate Fighter 21 Finale press conference today at 2 p.m. ET (11 a.m. PT).Filed under: News, UFC, Videos read news >>

Watch today's Invicta FC 13 weigh-ins live on MMAjunkie at 9 p.m. ET

  • 23 days ago
  • 5 views

LAS VEGAS – Invicta FC 13 weigh-in takes place today, and you can join us for a live video stream and official results beginning at 9 p.m. ET (6 p.m. PT).Filed under: News, Videos read news >>

USA TODAY Sports/MMAjunkie rankings, July 7: Pound-for-pound shake-up coming?

  • 23 days ago
  • 3 views

The holiday weekend meant a rare break in the increasingly busy MMA schedule, but the UFC returns with a vengeance on Saturday night. Is a pound-for-pound shake-up forthcoming?Filed under: Bellator, read news >>

Morning Report: Dan Henderson wants rematches with Anderson Silva, Vitor Belfrot and Gegard Mousasi

  • 25 days ago
  • 15 views

Dan Henderson might be 44 but he's got fights lined up for years. Henderson signed a new six-fight deal with the UFC early in 2014 and reportedly took a decent pay cut to stick with the promotion fol read news >>

Will Anderson Silva's B-samples prove his innocence?

  • 27 days ago
  • 33 views

Anderson Silva's UFC 183 test results are still up in the air due to conflicts in testing procedures and using different labs. Anderson Silva and Nick Diaz both failed drug tests after UFC 183 way ba read news >>

MMAjunkie Radio on holiday today, but download star-studded past episodes now

  • 27 days ago
  • 1 views

As a reminder, MMAjunkie Radio is off today for the Independence Day holiday. But now is the perfect time to catch up on our recent star-studded episodes.Filed under: News read news >>

UFC strawweight champ Joanna Jedrzejczyk undergoes successful thumb surgery

  • 27 days ago
  • 2 views

Doctors flip-flopped over her medical status, but today UFC strawweight champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk finally went under the knife to repair damage on her injured thumb.Filed under: News, UFC read news >>

Video: 'Nervous' Georges St. Pierre announces he's fighting Kurt Sloane today in Thailand

  • 28 days ago
  • 1511 views

Former UFC welterweight champion and part-time hoops star Georges St. Pierre is in Bangkok, Thailand, where he's gearing up to "fight" Jean-Claude Van Damme, his longtime idol and the man who played read news >>

Watch today's RFA 27 weigh-ins on MMAjunkie at 6 p.m. ET

  • 29 days ago
  • 11 views

Weigh-ins for Friday’s RFA 27 event take place today, and you can watch a live stream exclusively on MMAjunkie at 6 p.m. ET.Filed under: AXS TV Fights, News, Videos read news >>