Wanderlei Silva may never be a UFC champion, but that doesn’t mean he isn’t a strong candidate to be inducted into the UFC Hall of Fame.
On a grander scale, if there is every an international MMA hall of fame created, “The Axe Murderer” is a shoe-in.
But, let’s discuss his merits as far as belonging in the UFC Hall of Fame – which is currently a very select group of individuals.
Here’s a quick look at the long and successful resume Silva has put together:
– PRIDE middleweight champion
– PRIDE middleweight Grand Prix winner, and two-time semifinalist
– Longest undefeated streak in PRIDE, winning 20 matches, along with most PRIDE wins with 22
– MMA Fighting’s Light Heavyweight of the Year in 2004
– Sherdog’s Fighter of the Year in 2004
– Wins over such notables as Cung Le, Michael Bisping, Quinton “Rampage” Jackson, Dan Henderson and Guy Mezger.
Silva started his professional MMA career all the way back in 1996, winning his first four fights and five of his first six. He lost to Vitor Belfort in his UFC debut by TKO, but went on to win his next six bouts after.
In 2000, Silva went up against Tito Ortiz and fought him for the UFC light heavyweight title, but was defeated via decision. He ended up in PRIDE later that year and put together his long list of accomplishments and records with the Japan-based promotion.
Upon the UFC’s purchase of PRIDE, Silva re-entered the Octagon, taking on Chuck Liddell in 2007.
Since that fight, he’s posted a record of just 3-5 with the UFC, but you cannot value Silva just on these last few years. The wars his body has went through are catching up to him in a hurry, but he can still make his mark – just ask Le or Bisping.
This Saturday night at UFC on FUEL TV 8, Silva will face Brian Stann, a much younger fighter – but maybe not a hungrier one.
Competing back in Japan for the first time since 2006 when he was knocked out by Mirko CroCop, Silva will have the energy of the Saitama Super Arena behind him.
In my opinion, a win or loss vs. Stann will not determine Silva’s hall of fame induction, as that has likely already been determined by UFC officials.
But, his impact on the sport of MMA cannot be denied. Wanderlei Silva is a true MMA hall of famer in my books.