Anderson Silva nearly retired with his 16-bout UFC winning streak intact.
“The Spider” recently revealed to the UFC’s Brazilian website that he and his management met with UFC president Dana White and then owner Lorenzo Fertitta in Las Vegas in late 2012 following his victory over Stephan Bonnar in October of that year. There, Silva informed UFC brass that he was considering calling it a career.
“I want to stop, I want a time for myself, to stay with my family,” Silva said he told White and Fertitta (translation via MMAFighting.com). “I have been doing this for years and I’m losing contact with my kids. I’m only training and training, it’s not working for me anymore.”
Shortly thereafter, Silva said that White and Fertitta gave him a Bentley Continental GT worth approximately $174,000, which he believes was an incentive to continue fighting. Of course, the Brazilian eventually agreed to fight again and was scheduled to defend the middleweight crown against Chris Weidman at UFC 162 in July 2013.
“But one day before I started my camp to fight Weidman, I already was too saturated,” Silva said. “I never talked about this, never used this term ‘if I win.’ I said to [my wife], ‘If I win, I’ll stop, I won’t fight anymore.’”
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Silva would lose to Weidman via second-round knockout in a bout in which he was criticized for clowning around before his opponent was able to connect with the decisive punches.
“It was a group of things, many things led to my loss to happen that way,” Silva said. “Weidman had all the merits and won, he won well, but that’s what happened.”
“The Spider” was granted a rematch with Weidman at UFC 168, but he suffered a gruesome broken left leg while throwing a low kick that was checked but his opponent. Had things gone differently, Silva speculates that he might have ridden off into the sunset as middleweight champion.
“I would have stopped if I had won the fight, I wouldn’t fight anymore, but I ended up breaking my leg,” Silva said. “I think that was a message from God saying to me, ‘Look, man, you’re not supposed to stop yet. It took so long for you to get here and now you want to stop?’ I don’t know, I think those are subliminal messages that stay in your head.”
Including the two Weidman bouts, Silva has just one true victory in his last eight Octagon appearances – a controversial decision triumph over Derek Brunson at UFC 208. Another win over Nick Diaz at UFC 183 was overturned due to a failed drug test. The now 45-year-old Silva last competed at UFC 237, where he suffered a TKO loss to Jared Cannonier due to leg kicks in May 2019. He was able to avoid surgery following the defeat, but the status of his fighting future is currently unclear.
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