July 17, 2008

Anderson Silva attempts to solidify his growing legacy this Saturday at UFC Fight Night 14 in Las Vegas.

Since his arrival in the Ultimate Fighting Championship, Silva has catapulted from relative obscurity to the No. 1 middleweight fighter in the world and is widely acclaimed as the best pound-for-pound fighter in the sport. His quest for greatness brings him to the light heavyweight class where his adversary will be knockout striker James "The Sandman" Irvin.

The precision striking Silva bids for a successful entry in a third weight class. He began his career at welterweight, where he honed his skills as a talented young fighter. He came to the attention of MMA fans worldwide when he shocked Hayato "Mach" Sakurai to claim the Shooto 167-pound title and handed the Japanese legend his first professional loss. This gave people a glimpse of the immense talent that Silva possessed.

His career really took off when he moved up a division to the middleweight class. He excelled in the division with wins over the top middleweights in the world en route to the UFC title. With dominating victories over opponents such as Dan Henderson, Nate Marquardt, and two destructive performances over former champion Rich Franklin, Silva ascended to the top of the division.

His most recent bout further highlighted his growing power and intimidating presence as he defeated former Pride 185-pound and 205-pound champion Dan Henderson. He systematically picked apart Henderson like no fighter has done before him. Silva's emphatic display of crushing force in that fight demonstrated his development as a fighter and dominance over the weight class.

After leaving a trail of battered opponents behind him in the UFC middleweight division, Silva now enters the realm of light heavyweights in a gambit to reign over another weight class. The Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt is the first UFC champion that Dana White has willingly allowed to move up a weight category and still retain his belt.

"Anderson Silva, being the monster that he is, you all know is going to move up to 205 on July 19. He's going to fight at 205. If everything goes well, he wants to move back to 185 and fight Sept. 6 in Atlanta, probably against Yushin Okami, then he wants to fight again two months later," White stated.

The move to light heavyweight could cement Silva's position as pound-for-pound king and further add to his increasing legendary status. Decisions like this illustrate his desire to seek the hardest challenges so he can test his skills against the best. Silva has became one of the most respected figures in the sport due to his competitive attitude and work ethic.

"When I talk about real fighters, this is the kind of guy I'm talking about. This guy sat down in a meeting with us, literally, two months ago and said you're not fighting me enough, I want to fight more," explained the UFC president. "And he wants to keep proving himself. He's one of these guys that said my window is this big and I want to get everything in before this window closes."

In the past two, years Silva's improvement as a fighter has been very notable. The entertaining Brazilian has dazzled with his destructive striking skills leaving fans in awe of his power and the accuracy of his strikes. Silva is more of a complete fighter having earned his black belt in BJJ under the Nogueira brothers.

Being an extremely exciting fighter has led to a surge in popularity for the Brazilian and has put him on the verge of super stardom.

"He wants to hold both the 185- and the 205-pound belt and he wants to defend them both. Normally I won't let guys do stuff like that because it's just... stupid. I'll let Anderson Silva do it," said White.

James Irvin stands in his Anderson Silva's way this Saturday and hopes to derail the champion's foray at light heavyweight.

"You want to bet against me, go ahead. I have nothing to lose in this fight. This fight is a win-win fight for me. I'm not going to go in there and be anyone's punching bag. I have no problem taking two of his to get one of mine. If we get into a slugfest going back and forth, I guarantee you I'm going to win," said Irvin confidently.

With what is sure to be a stand up battle, "Silva vs. Irvin" could easily be a candidate for "Fight of the Night." A win on Saturday night could prove to be a pivotal step in Anderson Silva's career. If he were to attain both the middleweight and light heavyweight belts, Silva would achieve a feat that very few fighters have ever reached. A prosperous future seems inevitable for the highly skilled fighter who has already seen glory in two divisions.

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