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Should Anderson Silva retire from MMA? Former rival Demian Maia weighs in

Demian Maia lost a decision in a controversial fight with Anderson Silva in Abu Dhabi.
Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Anderson Silva once reigned supreme in the UFC middleweight division. But things haven’t been the same since he lost the 185-pound title to Chris Weidman in 2013. Now, many wonder if “The Spider” should call it a career after winning just one of his previous eight fights.

Demian Maia, for one, didn’t expect that to happen.

The former Silva foe headlines Saturday’s UFC Fight Night card in Singapore opposite Ben Askren, and told MMA Fighting he’s “a bit surprised” to see Silva in such a long winless skid.

“He’s one of the greatest fighters of all-time, if not the greatest,” Maia said. “He seemed unbeatable at one point, had that strong aura, and all of a sudden he started losing.”

Since losing twice to Weidman, “The Spider” had a win over Nick Diaz overturned due to a failed drug test. Lately, the Brazilian has a decision victory against Derek Brunson sandwiched between defeats to Michael Bisping, Daniel Cormier, Israel Adesanya and Jared Cannonier.

To make things worse, Silva suffered a knee injury in his last appearance inside the Octagon against Cannonier in May.

Maia can’t speculate what led to Silva’s downfall, but wonders if he’s still as hungry as he once was.

“It seems that losing to Weidman has affected him a lot,” Silva said. “He had a great run in his career, but maybe he doesn’t have the same patience to train, to go after things, to fix mistakes, and then he ended up having bad results after that.”

Hanging up the gloves is a personal call, but Maia shares his opinion on when it would be a better time to step away from the sport like MMA.

“To me, when you’re not as hungry to train hard and learn new things and get better as you once were, I think it’s time to stop,” Maia said. “Since I don’t have a personal relationship with Anderson, and I don’t know how he’s feeling right now so I can’t say, but that’s what I think it’s the right time to stop.

“Or when your body isn’t responding the same way anymore. But even if your body is responding, but you’re only doing it for money or vanity, if you don’t have in you to learn and train anymore, then I think it’s time to stop.”

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