EDITORIAL | Thiago Silva’s Rollercoaster Ride
By JAKE CHASTAIN
| The MMA world is a violent rollercoaster for most fighters. Just ask Thiago Silva.
No other sport produces the polarizing opposites that a career can experience in such a short amount of time on such a consistent basis. The world of mixed martial arts can love you one day and then forget about you the next. A successful fighter can find his or her life peeking in popularity one moment and then spiraling back down to the bottoms of nothing the next. And it can work the opposite way as well.
Thiago Silva has experienced both the rise and falls first hand.
Another example is Robbie Lawler, a fighter that was recently viewed as a washed-up old school fighter with nothing left in the tank. But when Strikeforce was purchased by Zuffa Lawler had the opportunity to rebirth his career. He put on an amazing performance and knocked-out Josh Koscheck this past February and now Lawler is rescaling the ramp to MMA success and popularity. But that ride will only continue to be pleasant if Lawler can continue to win.
On the flip side of that we have Josh Koscheck, who has now dropped two fights in a row. Although it wasn’t too long ago that Koscheck fought for the UFC welterweight title and was one of the bigger names in the sport his recent skid has pushed his back to the wall and made his next fight a ‘must-win’ bout for him.
The story plays out the same for most fighters. You begin to rise, everything is going great, and then something happens that, in the blink of an eye, changes everything. In Koscheck’s case it’s a couple of consecutive losses. In Pat Healy’s case it was a failed drug test for marijuana. In Dominick Cruz’s case it’s an injury.
But one of the most fascinating examples of this rollercoaster ride of an MMA career is Thiago Silva.
Silva has seen an overwhelming amount of ups and downs throughout his UFC career and although he has had some very low-lows he still finds himself right in the thick of contention in the UFC light heavyweight division.
Silva (14-3-2 NC), despite the success and skills he’s displayed inside the UFC octagon, has not notched a legitimate win on his record since he knocked-out Keith Jardine way back in mid-2009. Since then Silva has fought four times and has posted a 0-2 record with 2 ‘no-contests’ due to failed drug tests (one for a falsified urine sample and one for marijuana metabolites in his system). Both of the ‘no-contests’ on Silva’s record replaced amazing performances that originally gained him two solid wins over Brandon Vera and Stanislav Nedkov. Unfortunately, along with all of his great performances and climbs to success Silva’s ride has had some unexpected drops and turns to slow his rise. But through it all Silva has metaphorically been able to keep his cool, continue to enjoy the ride, and keep his eye on the prize.
At 30 years old Silva now finds himself nearing the latter part of his career. The question now is will Silva’s rollercoaster ride feature a quick drop and wicked spiral down or will it showcase one last big climb, a few fun, fast loops, and then a smooth coast into its end?
Thiago Silva (14-3-2 NC) will have a chance to start that climb back to the top of the UFC 205 pound division on June 8th when he squares off with former Strikeforce Light Heavyweight Champion Rafael Cavalcante (11-3-1 NC) at UFC on FUEL TV 10. This fight is well deserving of the night’s co-main event booking as both of these men are killers inside the cage and I expect this to be one of the top fights of the night.
There is a ton riding on this fight for both men and what adds to the drama and build up of the fight is that they are both coming off of ‘no-contest’ wins for failed drug tests.
Thiago Silva will look to finally legitimize his place among the UFC’s top-tier knock-out assassins and become a major threat to every top contender in the company with a win over Cavalcante on June 8th on FUEL TV.
When the ride comes to an end I’m sure Silva would like to say that he enjoyed the UFC rollercoaster. A lot of that enjoyment will depend on how he handles these upcoming loops, though. Be sure to stick around to see how this ride ends.