It was only a matter of time before the former UFC middleweight champion and perhaps the greatest fighter of all time, Anderson Silva, joined the promotion’s Hall of Fame.
The news that “The Spider” was a part of the 2023 Pioneer Wing was shared during the UFC 286 broadcast on Saturday. Silva, along with his fellow legends, former UFC and WEC featherweight champion Jose Aldo and inaugural UFC 155-pound champion Jens Pulver, will be honored at the Hall of Fame ceremony as part of International Fight Week in July.
Silva is 47 years old and has an overall professional mixed martial arts record of 34-11 and one no contest, with 23 wins coming via KO/TKO and three by submission. The Spider competed inside the Octagon from 2006 to 2020, and he held the 185-pound strap for nearly seven years — from 2006 to 2013.
He holds several UFC records, including the longest title reign (2457 days), longest win streak (16), and most 185-pound title fights (13) and middleweight championship victories (11). He’s right behind ex-flyweight king Demetrious Johnson as the fighter with the most consecutive UFC title defenses ever, sitting at 10 compared to “Mighty Mouse’s” 11.
During Silva’s UFC tenure, he beat the likes of Rich Franklin, Vitor Belfort, Dan Henderson, Forrest Griffin, Chael Sonnen and Chris Leben. The Brazilian superstar parted ways with the promotion following his October 2020 defeat to Uriah Hall.
He transitioned from mixed martial arts to boxing, where he’s tallied a 2-1 professional record since. Although he is nearing 50, The Spider has yet to retire from combat sports and it wouldn’t be surprising if he books himself another boxing bout in the near future.
Current & Former World Champions Praised The Spider’s Career
Several UFC combatants were featured in the video package used to announce The Spider’s induction. “That guy was in the matrix before the matrix even existed,” former UFC bantamweight champion TJ Dillashaw said in it. “Anderson Silva, you made me love the sport.”
“The things that he would do to his opponents were nothing short of amazing,” current 135-pound king Aljamain Sterling said. “Watching that fight (Silva vs. Griffin) was just mindblowing. There’s no way this guy is real.”
“That’s what made Anderson really fun to watch, was the way he moved, the way he flowed,” former UFC middleweight champion and Silva’s former opponent Israel Adesanya said. “The way he expressed himself in the Octagon, in a beautiful, violent way.
“Anderson inspired me a lot,” he continued. “Without him, I possibly might not be here.”
Watch Silva’s Hall of Fame induction video above.
UFC President Dana White & Others Reacted to Silva’s Hall of Fame Induction
Many others in the MMA community reacted after Silva’s Hall of Fame induction news aired on the March 18 broadcast. “He’s one of the greatest of all time,” UFC president Dana White said during the post-fight press conference. “Finally. He should be. We invited him out but he couldn’t make it. We wanted him to be here for it, but he couldn’t make it tonight.”
Former UFC bantamweight and flyweight ruler Henry Cejudo tweeted, “One of the most beautiful fighters to watch in combat sports history. Pure art. Pure class.”
MMA Fighting’s Shaheen Al-Shatti tweeted, “Anderson Silva was the pinnacle of ‘you had to be there to understand.’ We talk about auras in MMA? No one’s aura even *approached* his in his peak. One of the greatest showmen ever. If Silva retired pre-Weidman at age 37, we would’ve never had a GOAT debate again.”
Silva’s final Octagon opponent Uriah Hall wrote, “Congratulations to the legend #andersonsilva.”
“Anderson Silva will be inducted into the UFC Hall of Fame,” TSN’s Aaron Bronsteter tweeted. “If anyone was a stone cold lock for enshrinement, it was The Spider.”