Anderson Silva weighs-in for UFC 82: Pride of a Champion. Photo property of the Ultimate Fighting Championship.
Now that Anderson Silva is seemingly on top of the mixed martial arts world, constant comparisons to past greats are going to come flying at him.
Dan Wetzel of Yahoo! Sports made a pretty bold comparison even before Silva’s victory over Dan Henderson this past weekend, deeming him “the new Mike Tyson.”
Wetzel’s article is an extremely good read and I recommend that you check it out, even though it’s a pre-event piece. He does make a point. Like Tyson, Silva visibly is striking fear into the heart of his opponents. Similar to a championship-holding Chuck Liddell and a top competition-facing Fedor Emelianenko, not many fighters want to face Silva.
Again, like Tyson, Silva isn’t just defeating his opponents, he’s destroying them in the process. Only Travis Lutter and now Henderson have managed to mount any kind of offense against the lanky Muay Thai specialist. However both ended up meeting the same fate, being submitted by the multi-dimensional champion.
Wetzel does provide a good argument, however Silva is not the new Tyson. Why? Two reasons…
While the smaller of the two and of the lesser importance, it’s key to point out that Silva and Tyson couldn’t differ any more in terms of their mentality going into fights and how they present themselves as professional athletes.
We all know what Mike Tyson was. He was an animal. While Tyson started out as a quiet individual who became hugely marketable due to another explosion in popularity for boxing, he quickly degenerated into a crazed maniac, who was more concerned about injuring his opponent rather than winning.
Enter Silva. Quite possibly the nicest guy in MMA this side of Georges St. Pierre, Silva makes it a top priority to carry himself with dignity and class, hoping to serve as a role model for all those interested in becoming involved with the sport. It’s guys like Silva that create just another reason for mainstream media to finally look at the sport in a serious light.
You don’t need to act like a legit psycho to put people in the seats, Silva is already doing that by being himself and letting his skills do the talking.
But let’s get down to the real reason why Silva is not Tyson. Competition.
In all honesty, the best fighter Tyson ever beat was an over-the-hill Larry Holmes. Granted Tyson could only fight who was put in front of him at the time, it’s still one of the major downfalls in him not being considered one of the elite boxers of all-time.
When Tyson finally went up against a top-tier fighter, he was manhandled. It couldn’t be further from this case for Silva.
His win against a sure-fire Hall of Famer and one of the greatest of all-time in Henderson is a perfect example.
Tack that on to two separate destructions of former number-one ranked middleweight Rich Franklin and wins over Jeremy Horn, Hayato Sakurai, and Nate Marquardt and Silva already has what should continue to be a legendary career.
No one has dominated like Silva since Tyson. However Silva isn’t Tyson. Silva is Silva.
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