The 28th day of December 2013- the day of quite possibly the biggest rematch in the history of mixed martial arts and the UFC: Anderson Silva vs Chris Weidman.
Silva, attempting to avenge a loss which came at the hands of Weidman due to a punch which landed flush as Silva taunted in the cage, a mistake Silva vowed he would not make this time. The outcome of this rematch could not have been foreseen by any experts or fans as Anderson “the Spider” Silva, the greatest martial artist of our generation and potentially all time, had his leg snapped like a car wrapping around a telephone pole when he landed an inside leg kick to Weidman. The injury was undoubtedly one of the most gruesome injuries in all of sports.
Fast forward nearly five months later, and here we are, Anderson Silva having just been given a clean bill of health last week. How can this be after the brutality of the injury he suffered just less than five months ago? The answer is simple- because he is Anderson Silva, and because he defies pretty much all logic.
Just today, a video posted to his Twitter, the Spider is shown kicking a heavy bag with his surgically repaired leg with an ample amount of force. One can only cringe to think about the picture of the Spider laying there in pain after his leg had just nearly been snapped in two, only now to see him doing things that are nothing short of remarkable considering the nature of the injury.
Many questions surrounding Anderson’s return have been asked. Just when exactly would he be back? Will be the same technical striker we are accustomed to seeing? Will his leg hold up kicking with the same force as before? How is he mentally?
Questions like these are natural for such a high level athlete coming off of an injury so terrible. My realistic expectations are as follows.
Silva has already declared that his return will not take place this year; he has stated that he will be back and ready to fight by 2015 which makes perfect sense for him to return on next year’s Super Bowl weekend fight card. Who will he return against? Several potential opponents come to mind.
Belfort is riding a three fight winning streak, all three of those wins have come by savage kicks to the head, however Vitor has been at the forefront of the TRT debacle leaving him passed over by Lyoto Machida for a title shot. Vitor is without and opponent as of now, with his return date still hazy. After being knocked out by the Spider last time they fought, he is looking for that rematch and it might just fall into place.
Dan Henderson is another name to throw into the mix for a rematch against the spider who submitted him back in 2008. Henderson is coming off of a win but has not looked like the Hendo of old, this might serve a a good comeback fight for the Spider to get his feet wet again or so to say.
As far as expectations regarding just what kind of fighter Anderson will be in his return, I believe it to be much more mental than physical. Silva is one of the hardest working fighters there is, that is what has enabled him to be training fit in such a short time frame of recovery. To doubt him physically would be tough to do. Mentally however, I am not sure he will be as aggressive of a striker as we have grown to expect from the Spider, he may be inclined to use his boxing much more than the kicking aspect to his Muay Thai game, and frankly there is possibility that he may be slightly gun-shy.
Only Anderson knows the answer to this riddle, come 2015, we are either going to be amazed by Anderson Silva getting back to being Anderson Silva, or we will see a sad, shell of the former pound-for-pound number one fighter. For many the thoughts lay on the latter. As his Nike shirt reads across his chest, only “SPIDER KNOWS”.