Counting his stunning setback against Frank Mir at UFC Fight Night 61, three of Antonio "Bigfoot" Silva's last four fights have now ended in brutal and dramatic first-round knockout losses. The lone outlier of that group, a draw overturned into a no contest because of a failed Silva drug test, saw the Brazilian sustain massive damage throughout a legendary five-round slugfest against Mark Hunt.
It's a trend that's become hard to ignore in light of Sunday night's disappointing performance against Mir, especially when one considers that six of Silva's seven career losses have all ended the same way -- with the 35-year-old staring at the lights while his foe rains heavy blows onto the giant's crumpled frame. So it's not altogether surprising that many observers have begun wondering whether the battles have finally taken their toll; whether Silva's chin is, for lack of a better term, shot, and at this point in his career he'd be better off retiring rather than risking further brain trauma.
The question is a fair one to ask given the circumstances, though Silva vehemently disagreed with such a notion when asked by Brazilian media at UFC Fight Night 61's post-fight press conference.
"Frank hit me first," Silva said through a translator. "He's a heavyweight. Heavyweights are like this. It happens. Sometimes you take a whole fight taking punches, like it was with Mark Hunt, and you're still there. But then all of a sudden you get a punch that lands in the right place. It was his merit. I waited to hit him on the counterattack, but it's all his merit. Congratulations to him."
Altogether, Silva survived less than two minutes against Mir, wilting under an early salvo to lose his second straight fight against another member of MMA's old guard.
Silva has now competed in four consecutive contests without securing a win, and it's difficult to discount that he's looked like a shell of his former self since the TRT ban was handed down by the Nevada Athletic Commission in early 2014.
But for now Silva intends to continue fighting, and he bristled at the idea that the end of his road -- or his UFC employment -- could be fast approaching.
"I'm a UFC employee, so I have to fight and be prepared for anyone they want me to fight," Silva said. "Unfortunately the Brazilian fans think that when you lose, you're no good, you need to retire. And when you win, you're the best. Unfortunately. But that's part of it. I'm at the UFC's disposal, whatever needs to happen will happen. I trained hard, I trained to give my best in there.
"Unfortunately I didn't have the victory, but the Brazilian fans are like that -- ‘now it's time for me to retire, now it's time for me to stop,' but then tomorrow if I have a great fight, and then I have another great fight, and all of a sudden you're the best. Look at what people are saying about Anderson Silva. He's spent 10 years in the UFC, he raised the Brazil flag. It was at the top for many years. He's a human being as any other. It wasn't proven 100 percent that he's wrong, but even before he's judged or says what really happened, everyone's saying that it's a disappointment, that he's no good anymore, he's a guy who fights doped. He's got 18 or 20 years in his career and never had any problems.
"Unfortunately Brazilians have that. It upsets us, but I'm sure that I'm going to come back on top. It's part of it. I'm living a bad moment, but I'm going to look to get better."
Silva went on to acknowledge that he'd like to "take some time off" to readjust his game before returning, while also admitting to his frustration about the fickleness of fight fans who condemn without knowledge of what they actually speak about.
"Sometimes it's complicated because people don't understand fighting," Silva said. "Some people who never trained, who never got into a dojo, they never did jiu-jitsu, much less trained MMA, they never slapped anyone, they never even slapped a baby's butt, they don't know what we go through. They don't know our sacrifice inside the gym. We're human beings like any others. We have to abdicate ourselves from our family, from our food, from everything to be able to get here and be well. It's tough, it's not easy. It's not easy to come to someone and tell them exactly what happened.
"It's like I said, I did everything right this time. I was very focused. I had a lot of will, something that last time I didn't have. But unfortunately it wasn't my day and another defeat came. Now it's time to get back and train even harder and hope for my next fight."