The beautiful thing about the fight business is that anything can happen. It’s said all the time, but there are a few moments in a fight fans career that strike so much of a chord within you that it can actually change your world view afterwards. Right up until that unexpected moment when Silva collapsed to the canvas, we all saw Anderson Silva as being on another level than everyone else. His past performances were remarkable in their smoothness, and in his killer instinct that led him towards having the most finishes in UFC history. He also had one of those rare presences about him that made him seem invincible in the octagon. This is a man who grew up through poverty in Brazil, with a complete love and devotion towards fighting on his mind.
This very man almost retired years ago, before he even started his incredible streak in the UFC, when the Nogueira brothers convinced him to continue fighting. He was eventually signed to the UFC where he dismantled Chris Leben in stunning fashion, who at the time had won four straight UFC fights, as well as having a career record of 15-1. Silva then went on to win the belt from Rich Franklin, and the rest is history.
One thing can be certain from Silva’s appearances in the Octagon: He is an emotional fighter. Silva can be seen bursting into tears after several of his most important wins, as well as the wins of his teammates (breaking down in the locker-room after watching Rodrigo Nogueira submit Dave Herman). The wildest and most dangerous thing a fighter can do is fight with emotion. However, those who take the risk can sometimes rise to greatness, and Silva is quite possibly the best example of this. Anderson Silva does not take kindly to insults, or attacks on his techniques, and is fiercely loyal to his teammates and training partners. A testament to his emotional outlook on fighting and loyalty can be seen when his former training partners make subtle claims that they may be coming for his belt, as Mark Munoz, Vitor Belfort, and Wanderlei Silva are all examples of this.
These are the traits that have made him so different from every other fighter on the planet, and made us all tune in to watch him fight. We knew that we were going to see something incredible, but we were never sure what it was, or how he would treat his opponent on any given night. Those particular uncertainties can mess with an opponent’s head, and we all know Anderson Silva is a master of mind games. Perhaps Silva is not so much guilty of hubris, as he is guilty of having too much fun. He has always said that the most important thing a fighter can do in the octagon is to just have fun. Perhaps we discovered Saturday that there is limit even for the greatest fighters on earth.
On the other side of the world there still lives a man who seems to be the complete opposite of Anderson Silva in their very natures. That man is the enigmatic Fedor Emelianenko. For years Fedor dominated the fight scene in PRIDE, and became beloved for his stoic attitude and for the respect for he showed for any opponent put in front of him. Whereas Silva fights with emotion, is sometimes arrogant, flashy, and displays a lack of concern for an opponent’s efforts, Fedor fights calm, collected, unemotional, and never plays ‘games’ with his opponents.
They may be very different from each other in many ways, but they do share several interesting similarities. They both dominated the competition where they were from, declaring them the G.O.A.T in their respective divisions. They are also fiercely loyal to their national roots, and are both men of faith. Both have put on some of the best win streaks in MMA history, and they both stand in the top three of most people’s G.O.A.T list.
In the meantime, Fedor has retired stating that he will only ever come back if god tells him to.
Since I doubt a large bearded figure from the sky will suddenly appear and tell Fedor to fight, there must be other ways that he can receive his “message”. I certainly am not suggesting the presence of a deity guiding events, but as long as it appears that way to certain people, we are looking at a potential silver lining that no one could’ve expected. Let’s take a look at the details.
Dana white first mentioned a very valuable bit of information on the near signing of Fedor Emilkeno back in January when he said:
“We were in deep talks with him. We were that close to signing him. Recently, right before his dad died...we were right there. When I was talking about doing that big Dallas Texas stadium show, it was going to be Brock Lesnar vs Fedor. Remember when I met with him and I said it didn't go well? It actually did go well. It went well and then Fedor's dad died. He wanted to fight Fedor....Fedor was done; He said ‘I want to spend the rest of my life with my family.' We were negotiating for months. And then after his dad died he said, ‘That's it I'm done,' or whatever and then Brock said, ‘I'm done too.'"
If Fedor was once that close to signing with the UFC, it should certainly be a possibility again. Dana white also mentioned a few days ago that the biggest regret of his career is not having signed Fedor. We also have the recent unretirement of Fedor’s brother, Aleksandr Emelianenko. Back in May, Fedor stood face to face with one of the greatest fighters of this day when he met Jon Jones in Russia. Surely Fedor must have felt some fire hidden beneath that calm exterior while he was standing near Jones. Dana white has also been adamant about the UFC’s very serious goal to enter into the Russian market. It appears as though Fedor couldn’t come to the UFC, so now the UFC is coming to Fedor. What better way could the UFC find to enter the Russian market than by killing two birds with one stone: signing the most popular Russian MMA fighter of all time, and putting on one of the greatest matchups ever.
Several things can be sure in this matchup. Anderson Silva will not attempt to disrespect or clown someone of Fedor’s caliber, and will be put in a situation where we can see him take a fight completely serious. This seems to be a win/win for everyone involved.
Silva will have a chance to earn one of the most defining wins of his career, against an opponent he is sure to respect, and does not have to worry about the pressures of holding a belt.
Fedor gets a chance to help his fellow Russian fighters and teammates have better financial futures by signing with the UFC.
The UFC can enjoy the easier entry into Russia, and one of the biggest pay per view buys in company history.
Dana white can enjoy the satisfaction of signing Fedor emelienko and putting on one of the most unexpected super fights ever.
Maybe it’s just one fan’s dream, as these have always been my two favorite fighters since I started watching MMA years ago. Or maybe Ariel Helwani can ask Fedor if these “signs” are enough to get him to come back and fight.