Anderson da Silva (born April 14, 1975) is a Brazilian mixed martial artist. He is the current UFC Middleweight Champion and the promotion's longest reigning champion. With 14 consecutive wins and 9 title defenses, Silva holds the longest winning streak and title defense streak in UFC history. UFC president Dana White has proclaimed Silva as "the greatest mixed martial artist ever."
Silva is ranked as the number one Middleweight in the world by multiple publications and is the consensus #1 pound-for-pound fighter in the world according to ESPN, Sherdog, Yahoo! Sports, MMAFighting.com and other publications. Silva is also the last Cage Rage Middleweight Champion and a former Shooto Middleweight Champion. Besides the UFC and Cage Rage, Silva has fought for a number of other MMA promotions including the Pride Fighting Championships, Shooto and Rumble on the Rock.
Although known primarily for his mastery of Muay Thai striking, Silva is also a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu blackbelt, a rank he earned in 2006 from Antônio Rodrigo Nogueira who follows Gracie Lineage through Carlson Gracie, likewise Murilo Bustamante and the Brazilian Top Team. He began martial arts training at the age of 14, training Tae kwon do and earning a black belt by the age of 18. He is also a black belt in Judo and a yellow rope in Capoeira.
Once a member of the Chute Boxe Academy, Silva left to form the Muay Thai Dream Team. In late November 2006, he joined new team Black House with Lyoto Machida, Vitor Belfort, Assuerio Silva, and the Nogueira brothers.
Silva initially fought in his native Brazil in the welterweight category. According to Sherdog.com, Silva made his professional debut in 1997 with a pair of wins. Silva recorded his first loss in 2000 to Luiz Azeredo by decision. After that fight, he went on a nine-fight winning streak, winning six of those fights by either submission or TKO. After winning his first match in Japan he was put up against Shooto champion Hayato Sakurai on August 26, 2001. Silva beat Sakurai by unanimous decision after three rounds and became the new Shooto Middleweight Champion (at 167 lb) and the first man to defeat Sakurai who was undefeated in his first 20 fights.
Pride Fighting Championships
In 2002, Silva began fighting in Pride. In his first fight with the promotion, he stopped Alex Stiebling with a cut resulting from a high kick. In his next match, he won via decision against the "Diet Butcher" Alexander Otsuka. At Pride 25, Silva faced former UFC welterweight champion Carlos Newton. Newton tried to shoot in on Silva, but was hit with a flying knee. Newton collapsed and Silva finished the fight with strikes, winning by technical knockout.
At Pride 26, Silva faced Daiju Takase. Considering his record at the time – with only four wins to seven losses – Takase was a big underdog. Surprisingly, after dominating most of the fight with takedowns, top position, and effective ground and pound, Takase submitted Silva with a triangle choke late in the first round. After his loss to Takase, Silva fought in other promotions around the world. On June 27, 2004, Silva fought Jeremy Horn and earned a decision victory.
Ultimate Fighting Championship
Although speculation ran rampant about where Silva would sign next, the UFC announced in late April 2006 that they had signed him to a multi-fight contract. It was not long before the UFC started promoting Silva, releasing an interview segment almost immediately after announcing his arrival.
Silva made his debut at Ultimate Fight Night 5 on June 28, 2006. His opponent was The Ultimate Fighter 1 contestant Chris Leben who had gone undefeated in the UFC with five consecutive victories. Leben, confident of victory, had predicted he would KO Silva in a pre-fight interview. A relatively unknown fighter in the United States, Silva made an emphatic debut when he knocked out Leben with a flurry of pinpoint strikes, followed by a final knee strike at 49 seconds into the first round. Silva's striking accuracy was 100%.
Winning the title
In response to the victory, the UFC quickly tallied a poll on their main page, asking viewers to select Silva's next opponent; the majority of voters selected the UFC Middleweight Champion, Rich Franklin.
Silva fought Franklin at UFC 64 on October 14, 2006, and defeated him by TKO (strikes) at 2:59 in the first round. Silva hit Franklin with knees to the body from the Muay Thai-clinch, then badly broke Franklin's nose with a knee to the face.Unable to strike back, Franklin dodged the last of Silva's strikes before falling to the ground, where referee "Big" John McCarthy ended the fight. Silva was then crowned the new UFC Middleweight Champion, becoming the second man to defeat Franklin, after Black House-teammate Lyoto Machida.