has had his share of detractors and doubters in the days since narrowly escaping with a fifth-round submission win over Chael Sonnen at UFC 117. Fellow mixed martial arts legend Randy Couture
is not among those ready to write off the middlewight king, but in a recent conference call for Couture's upcoming UFC 118
bout with boxer-turned-mixed martial artist James Toney
, Couture did offer a critique of Silva's game.
Couture, who has captured five different titles in two different weight classes, says that Silva's recent performances have illustrated a more conservative fighter than the world is accustomed to seeing.
"I think Anderson needs to look at the spirit in which he's competing," he said. "It appears to me that he's been doing his best not to lose. Instead of doing what he did early on and competing to win, and taking guys out, he's doing enough now to get by, be successful and keep winning."
Ironically, at the time, the 47-year-old Couture had been responding to a question about whether he felt the 35-year-old Silva was getting old. He disagreed that was the case, instead saying that Silva was suddenly more passive, and noting that in MMA, taking a cautious approach is playing with fire.
"Eventually that kind of fighting attitude will catch up with you," said Couture, who faces Toney on Aug. 28 in Boston. "You have to kind of go out, risk it and lay it all on the line. That's the way it is. I think Anderson has strayed away from that a little bit, but I don't think he's getting old at all. I think he's still a tremendous athlete with amazing ability. You know, there were some pretty interesting things he still demonstrated in the fight against Sonnen even though most of the fight, he spent on his back and got dominated."
It was the second time in his recent career that Silva faced a top-level wrestler. In his first, which came against Dan Henderson in March 2008, Silva also suffered a few nervous moments when Henderson took him down in the first round. In that one, however, Silva rebounded to win by submission in the second.
Couture, whose Greco-Roman wrestling background forms the basis of his MMA style, thinks that like Sonnen and Henderson, his wrestling strength could give Silva fits.
"I've said all along the guy that's going to give Anderson Silva fits is the guy with that tenacious wrestling style," he said. "Danny Henderson had that ability, stole a round from Anderson when they fought, and kind of strayed away from that game plan and got to slinging gloves with Anderson, which I think is always a bad idea.
"I've said a number of times when asked if I'd like to fight Anderson that that would be a great fight," he continued. "I think that I'd do well against him. He's a very graceful, amazing athlete, and one of the best guys in our sport. Those are definitely the kind of guys you want to fight."