There are hundreds of ways to remember Anderson Silva’s greatest fights in the UFC, but one of the most iconic moments happened before he ever set foot in the cage.
Almost every clash the legendary Brazilian had in the octagon was preceded by a signature song that played as he walked out to face his opponents. It’s nearly impossible to forget when the lights dropped and four booming bass hits ricocheted throughout an arena followed by a raspy voice uttering the words “It’s dark and hell is hot.”
Seconds later, DMX kicks in with the chorus for his track No Sunshine, which was originally featured on the Exit Wounds soundtrack — a film he also starred in alongside Steven Seagal. While that track charted when first released in 2001, Silva using that as his walkout song for so many of his biggest accomplishments in the UFC forever connected the fighter and the rapper.
Sadly, DMX (real name Earl Simmons) died this past April at just 50 years of age and his loss was felt by fans from around the globe. Silva was among those who were crushed to hear the tragic news.
“I think DMX, it’s a part to my entire career in MMA,” Silva told MMA Fighting when asked about his connection to the famed rapper from New York. “Especially when I started in Cage Rage in London. My friend Alex said, ‘This is the song you need to be using when you’re walking inside the cage,’ and I think about it and I said, “This is good,” and I started using this song.
“When I started using this, the song becomes part of my heart, part of my life.”
While fighters having music played as they walk to the cage is certainly nothing new, there are some songs attached to certain athletes that become part of their legacy.
Urijah Faber will always be remember for using California Love by Tupac and Dr. Dre. Michael Bisping enjoyed a raucous explosion from fans whenever he walked out to Song 2 by Blur. And Silva’s choice for No Sunshine by DMX echoed throughout arenas during his unprecedented undefeated streak that ran for seven years, 17 fights and 10 total title defenses.
Silva, who fights Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. in a boxing match on June 19, paid tribute to DMX on his Instagram page just after hearing that the rapper had passed away. He also acknowledges now that there was so much more to DMX than just the music he produced.
That said, the Brazilian truly found inspiration in DMX’s music, especially the track that became such a huge part of his fight career.
“I’m a big fan of DMX and for me, DMX is a very talented guy. A good actor, a good singer,” Silva said. “The people never know that but DMX is a very good father and a very humble guy. Of course, he had a lot of problems but that’s not my part to say ‘oh it’s bad’ or not. Let’s talk about how much DMX helped a lot of people, inspired a lot of people.
“That’s why I take the energy from DMX in my mind and I’ll use in the image of DMX. How much DMX inspired me to go inside the cage and do my best.”