Anderson Silva is the pound-for-pound best MMA fighter in the world. The Brazilian seems unbeatable, and pulls off some of the most unorthodox wins of any fighter, but he is still just another fighter. Any fighter can be defeated on any given night at any moment. One mistake, one slip, one second or punch can change the course of history in the sport.

This list looks at the top 10 fighters that pose a threat to Silva and why.

10: Michael Bisping

Bisping is the last conquest Anderson Silva is yet to achieve. Silva has been dubbed with the notion that he has cleaned out his division, for which one can make an argument. Others believe Bisping is the last test in the UFC of the opponents that have been in the division for some time.

It’s hard to completely clean out a division, due to up-and-comers, mergers and fight schedules. But it is Bisping that has remained in the shadows.While most certainly not the biggest threat to Silva, Bisping always comes to fight. He is a great striker and an ever-changing fighter since his days on The Ultimate Fighter.

By the time Bisping gets around to fighting Silva, given he is still champion by then, Silva may very well be on the downslide of his career, jumped weight classes or retired. Due to the other potential match-ups, not to mention he has to get through Jason “Mayhem” Miller first, it may not come to fruition anytime soon, but would make for an interesting dynamic and the final test of the current middleweight champ.

9: Cung Le

Le poses a unique threat to Silva. With very precise and deadly strikes, he has already become a star without setting foot in the Octagon. His fights in Strikeforce have established his name, and many are looking past the likes of Stann or Sonnen for a fight between Silva and Le.

A very good striker is always interesting to watch face Silva, since they are either going to be beaten dominantly or pull off strikes that Silva didn’t see coming. Cung Le’s kickboxing is at the top of its game, and can quickly end a fight. As long as Silva doesn’t catch one of them a-la-Irvin style, Le poses one of the greater striking chances with Silva.

8: Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza

Souza recently lost his belt, but that doesn’t make him any less dangerous. Silva’s kryptonite has been against submissions, and that’s exactly what Souza brings to the table.

With such a high level submission artist, Silva is in danger the moment it goes to the ground, but the test will be if Souza can get him on the ground in the first place. Demian Maia posed a similar problem, but fans and critics alike will hope that doesn’t repeat itself.

7: Josh Koscheck

Koscheck is not yet in the division, but has spoken of moving up to 185 in hopes to try his skills there. While distant from a title shot, he poses a very well-rounded set of skills to help him defeat Silva.

Anderson’s takedown defense is one of his non-dominant areas, and Koscheck is a great wrestler. Along with his wrestling, he pairs great striking with KO power. Anderson’s chin was tested by Chael Sonnen, but not necessarily to the caliber of Koscheck. With the reach difference, Koscheck would most certainly go for a takedown and work from there.

6: Dan Henderson

Similar to Koscheck, Dan Henderson brings great wrestling power, along with the infamous “H-bomb.” Henderson also brings an advantage that only one other person has, and that is that he has handed the pound-for-pound king a lost round, and has fought him before. Given the two are not the exact same fighters, but that mystique of fighting him for the first time is gone.

Hendo is no stranger to a championship fight, and the pressure is much more alleviated than others. With the ability to knock anyone out, and the ability to hold onto Silva, Hendo poses a great threat if he ends up dropping down again…as long as he works on his submission defense.

5: Brian Stann

Brian Stann is a well-rounded fighter, with power in his shots. He is a warrior in and out of the cage, and has the heart to take on any champion. Stann, besides Silva, is the only other person to knockout Chris Leben, who is known for his granite chin.

Stann may very well be the underdog, but like many other great fighters in the sport, that is when they truly shine. Stann is not one to take that camp lightly at all, and would come into his fight very prepared. Always humble and evolving, Stann is a threat to any opponent at 185.

4: Hector Lombard

Lombard is a very well-rounded finisher. He can knock you out, or submit you on the ground. He is currently 30-2-1. He is the Bellator champion, and the recently crowned champion of the AFC. While not on the biggest stages, Lombard continues to win.

He has won his past 19 fights, which is phenomenal for any MMA fighter. He brings knockout power more than many middleweights, and poses probably one of the best match-ups for Silva at 185. A fighter who can end a fight wherever it goes is a description in both Silva’s and Lombard’s biography.

3: Chael Sonnen

Sonnen stirred the middleweight pot more than any other fighter has done since Silva joined the UFC. When he and Silva fought last, Sonnen was less than half a round away from pulling one of the of the biggest upsets in UFC history, before being submitted via Chael’s kryptonite, the triangle.

Still, the rematch between the two has been on the forefront of fans’ minds, due to the nature of the fight. Fans of Silva want to see Sonnen lose twice in a row to finally shut him up, and fans of Sonnen want to see Sonnen pull out a win. Sonnen has shown his wrestling ability, and even some striking ability with Silva, but there are differences in their second meeting. They both have now fought each other, and the same success Sonnen found may not be present in the rematch.

Others can argue about the impact on the first meeting of Sonnen’s TRT abuse as well as Silva’s rib injury, but in a rematch, Silva comes out with more of an advantage than their first meeting. Sonnen works hard and doesn’t stop working, which always poses a problem to his opponents.

2: Georges St-Pierre

The superfight everyone has been talking about for a long time. Putting the two best MMA fighters against each other on the biggest stage in the sport. It is truly the Pacquiao vs. Mayweather of MMA, but like the boxing parallel, it may never happen. With the two facing other opponents, and GSP having to move up in weight, there are many factors that require time to set up this fight. It could happen, but with so many prerequisites to be met, there is a lot riding against it.

GSP is arguably one of the biggest threats to Silva, and anyone who competes in MMA. His unprecedented wrestling, ever-improving striking and ability to gameplan sets him miles ahead of other fighters in having a chance against Silva. GSP is one of the best well-rounded fighters in the sport, and on paper is the most dominant threat to Silva he will ever face in his career. If this fight comes into fruition, the odds makers are going to have to scratch their heads a little harder when thinking about the line for this one.

1: Jon Jones

Jon Jones’ wins over Mauricio “Shogun” Rua and Quinton “Rampage” Jackson have now established him and verified some of the hype he has been receiving. He still has much to do in his division, and like GSP, this superfight may never happen. By the time Jones is ready to take it on, Silva may be doing something else completely.

Regardless, if they were to fight, Jones poses the best striking threats to Silva’s reign. His unorthodox striking and long reach makes him a hard person to counter, which is where Silva has had much success. Jones is also a great wrestler, and as mentioned before, Silva’s wrestling has not been as shiny as his other areas of expertise.

Jones is the younger fighter and brings a great energy into the cage with him. At beating Silva at his own game, Jones is the leader of MMA fighters who can pull it off.

Top Photo: UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva (movingmind.org)

About The Author

Gregory Chase
Staff Writer

Gregory Chase is an MMA enthusiast and aficionado. He is a Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report (MMA), a Featured Columnist at Sports-at-Work, a Contributor for The MMA Corner, and is the Connecticut MMA Examiner for Examiner.com. Chase also trains in MMA, focusing on a mixture of striking disciplines, and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. He writes to promote thought, give perspective and provide a coherent analysis on topics, while maintaining a smooth read and educating/entertaining. He lives by his motto of “MMA: Live it. Breathe it.”