Since he has been in the UFC, Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva has been highly regarded as one of the best heavyweights on the roster. He has been involved in a number of exciting fights, including his war against Mark Hunt one week ago in the headliner of UFC Fight Night 33. Despite the fact that the two fought to a draw, they impressed to the point where both may have climbed up the rankings. However, don’t be fooled into thinking that Bigfoot is anywhere near the top of the heavyweight division.

In his professional career, Silva holds a record of 18-5-1. All but one of those five losses came at the hands of men at the top of the division. He has been defeated by Cain Velasquez (twice), Daniel Cormier and Fabricio Werdum among the UFC ranks. His lone career loss outside of the big stages of Strikeforce and the UFC came against Eric Pele, but most fighters out there have a similar loss on their career from years ago.

His losses against “DC” and Velasquez are nothing to freak out about either, based on the fact that the two teammates are at the top of the sport. It wouldn’t be shocking to learn that they shared insight and tactics into their common opponent.

The defeat against Werdum was a closely contested fight as well, and considering how far Werdum has risen, that is a more than reasonable loss as well. But that defeat against the fellow Brazilian may have been the one that sprung Silva to where he is today. The fact that he was on the wrong end of that decision slingshotted him ahead to where he was able to win three straight against a then-relevant Andre Arlovski, Mike Kyle and Fedor Emelianenko.

After that streak, however, he ran into the one-two punch of American Kickboxing Academy and dropped consecutive fights to Velasquez and Cormier. But if we want to dive deep into his four most recent fights, the truth may be revealed in exactly where to rank him.

He earned a technical knockout against Travis Browne, but that was after “Hapa” tore his hamstring in the first round and was swarmed by Silva. Yet, at the end of the day, it was a win nonetheless, and he parlayed it into two straight after he outlasted Alistair Overeem to score a third-round knockout. Initially, the victory was huge, given Overeem’s status at the time as one of the most feared heavyweights in the sport, but then “The Reem” fell to Browne and landed at risk of being released from the promotion with another loss.

The reality of the situation is that Bigfoot beats the fighters he is supposed to beat, but struggles against the stiff competition. He had a chance to erase that stigma after earning the title shot and his second chance at Velasquez, but not only did he lose the second time, he didn’t even last two minutes. Now, everyone is overly high on him because he put on a fight for the ages, but the reality is that he fought to a draw. Furthermore, one of the three judges even went as far as scoring the fight a victory for Hunt. Certainly, the fight was great, but you don’t have to be an elite fighter to put on an elite fight.

At a glance, the Brazilian has a very sexy resume. You look at his losses and see that they are against some of the best fighters out there. The big names like Overeem, Emelianenko and Browne jump off the page, too. But pull out the magnifying glass, and you’ll see the truth. Bigfoot has done enough to qualify as a top-10 fighter without question, but if he wants to get another crack at a title fight anytime soon, he needs to step up his game. If not, he will be stuck in the purgatory of MMA where he’ll reside as a gatekeeper to the division’s true elite class.

Photo: Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva (Esther Lin/MMA Fighting)

About The Author

Brian McKenna
Staff Writer

Brian McKenna was born and raised in the suburbs of Boston, Massachusetts. A sports nut from as long as he can remember, he came to be a fan of Mixed Martial Arts from a roommate watching The Ultimate Fighter while attending Westfield State College. Brian came to writing by starting his own blog, Four Down Territory, which focuses on Boston based sports, life, and of course MMA.