There's no getting around it:
Not just a good showing in a losing effort. Not another narrow defeat. A win. He needs to show up Saturday night looking like "The Axe Murderer" of old. He needs to pound
But if the fight game has proven anything, it's that just because a win is needed, a win certainly isn't guaranteed. That is especially true when facing a professional spoiler like Jardine.
In many ways this is the toughest possible matchup for Silva right now, who owns a three-fight losing streak. After a close decision-loss to
A fourth-straight loss is very possible for Silva, and it would create some difficult questions for both him and the Ultimate Fighting Championship. UFC president
But as exciting as Silva is to watch, White can't justify keeping him in the Octagon if he can't scrape together a victory -- and soon. Just as White criticized former light heavyweight champ
That was the year
Admittedly, the significant-win test is a tough standard, but if it's fair to apply it to Ortiz, then it's fair to do the same with Silva. If he can't beat Jardine (who doesn't even get to enjoy the No. 1-contender status despite having defeated the current No. 1
Fighters who rely on power and aggression such as Silva tend to fade fast. He starts taking some bad beatings and finds himself less able to come back. When he's no longer explosive enough to land the one-punch knockout, he needs to be able to rely on technique and experience. If Silva can't make that adjustment -- both mentally and physically -- his career is in jeopardy.
That's not to say that Silva doesn't have it in him anymore, or that he can't adapt to become a different, though still effective, fighter. But if he doesn't rebound against Jardine, his options seem limited.
The UFC has two options. White can either keep Silva in the light heavyweight division and match him against one of their up-and-comers with the hope that, even if Silva can't pull off a win, the younger fighter will receive a boost in status, or White can move Silva down to middleweight for a fresh start. Neither bodes well for him in the long run.
Silva already secured his spot in MMA history. But if he can't reclaim some of that old magic against Jardine, Silva may have to face the possibility that his best days are behind him.