Long considered by most to be the greatest of all time, Anderson Silva not only went on a record 16-consecutive win streak inside the UFC, but also successfully defended his middleweight title an equally impressive record of 10-consecutive times. Despite the shadow being cast by the lab results of his most recent fight, he still faced off against any and all challengers, and did so many times in spectacular fashion.

But what happened to those fallen foes after there once (or in one fighters case twice) chance in a lifetime to become the UFC middleweight champion? If they were truly the best of the best at the time, theoretically they should have had to have an equal, or at least marginal, amount of success after fighting the GOAT. But for anyone who’s followed the fight game long enough, we know that is not always the case. So here in order from least to most successful, is Silva’s list of challengers.

Honorable Mention: Travis Lutter

Travis Lutter is a name few fans remember, which is understandable considering how his  tenure with the UFC ended. After winning season four of The Ultimate Fighter: The Comeback against future title contender Patrick Cote, he earned a guaranteed fight against The Spider. Unfortunately Lutter failed to make weight and the fight was a non-title bout. This would have made little difference in Lutter’s ranking on this list however, has he only had one more fight in the UFC, a loss to former champion Rich Franklin, before being cut. His career record post-Spider would be 1-3 with an overall MMA record of 10-6.

 

No. 10: Nate Marquardt

Without a doubt the most experienced fighter on this list, Nate Marquardt has had more than his share of ups and downs in his career. Once thought to be one of the few legitimate threats to Silva, despite coming up short in his title bid, his first tenure with the UFC ended on a bitter note as Marquardt was cut due to questionable test results. He found some success with Strikeforce after dropping to welterweight and capturing their vacant tile, but failed to carry over that success in his first  title defense or into the UFC’s 170-lbs division. After deciding to move back up to 185-lbs, Marquardt has now gone 1-1, but will unlikely ever be considered a top-10 fighter again. His combined UFC record post-Silva is 7-6; 8-7 if you add his Strikeforce bouts, putting his career record at 33-14-2.

 

NO. 9: Patrick Cote

Four years. That’s the span of time between Patrick Cote’s last win in the Octagon before being cut and scoring a “W” in his return. After losing to Silva at UFC 90, Cote would go on to drop his next two fights leading to his cut. Departed but destined to not be forgotten, Cote would rack up four straight wins on the regional circuit before being brought back to square off with Cung Le. While Cote did not win his return bout, the performance was exciting and respectable, and he was able to score three-straight wins, an almost unheard of feat for someone in his shoes, before dropping a unanimous decision to Stephen Thompson. While the cut to welterweight has served well for Cote, and he may never be a true contender again, his style and experience have more than earned him his job back and make him a fan favorite every time.

 

No. 8: Rich Franklin

One of the few people to face Silva more than once, former champion Rich Franklin knows what it’s like to be on top of the world and how to climb back up the mountain, only to be knocked off again. While not officially retired, his place in the history books is well established and it’s likely another step into the cage would serve little purpose at this point. The lat time “Ace” won back-t0-back fights at middlweight was in 2007 before getting a crack at the title he lost. Since the second loss to Silva Franklin has managed a barely above .500 record of 5-4, which is better than some but not as great as others.

 

No. 7: Demian Maia

Demian Maia is always an odd sort to rank. He has had some spectacular wins, and some lackluster losses. He also wasn’t the only person on this list to try his luck at different weight class, however he may have found the most success there. While he’s coming off a serious injury and not too long ago dropped two straight to top-level competition, Maia remains one of the most dangerous fighters at 170-lbs and due to his past success and name recognition can count himself among the few who are only a couple wins away from a title shot.  His recent dominant performance last week against the (then) undefeated up and comer No. 15-ranked Ryan LaFlare shows he is nothing but elite. He left 185-lbs with a respectable 3-2 record, and has so far gone 5-2 at 170-lbs, which included three straight victories against Dong-Hyun Kim, Rick Story and Jon Fitch.

 

No. 6: Dan Henderson

A man who never seems to quit yet has achieved more than almost anyone, Dan Henderon has won titles in every significant organization he has fought for, save for one. The only thing that has kept him out of the top five is a string of recent losses, but when we look at his career as a whole he sits comfortably at No. 7. Unfortunately one more fight might not move him up the list. After losing to Silva, Hendo had a combined UFC/Strikeforce record of 7-1 in 2011 before going 1-5 in his next six. That put his combined post-Silva record at 8-6, with a career record of 30-13.

 

No. 5: Yushin Okami

Someone would still be considered a top-1o fighter had the UFC not cut him, and at 33 years of age still has plenty of fight left in him, Yushim Okami remains a viable middleweight fighter. Despite losing his last fight against David Branch for the WSOF title, Okami is likely only one or two wins away from a rematch for that title. It’s likely Okami’s departure had more to do with cost/benefit analysis than his actual fighting ability. Of course time tells all tales, and we may never see Thunder return to form, and thus end up further down this list.

 

No. 4: Chael Sonnen

While Chael Sonnen’s departure from active competition was marred midst controversy and turmoil, his career was one to be used as an example for fighters who wished to see their named on the marquee. Like Franklin, Sonnen lost twice to Silva, and like Franklin he had mixed success at 205-lbs. However unlike Franklin he had an undeserved title shot against Jon Jones, and then went out as one of the sports biggest draws. While others might have had better records, he left still ranked and viable.

 

No. 3: Thales Leites

The most unlikely name to be ranked so high on this list, Thales Leties is official a top-10 ranked UFC fighter once more. Long known as a submission wizard, he seems to have developed legitimate striking and knockout power since first being let go. Leites’s depature was controversial in and of itself, as it came after a split-decision loss to Alessio Sakara. While that was his second in a row, the first in that string was to then champion Anderson Silva, and his overall UFC record the first go around was a respectable 5-2. Not to be undersold, Leties amassed a 6-1 record outside the UFC before being welcomed back. Since then he has gone 5-0, finishing his last three, giving him an overall UFC record of 10-2.

 

No. 2: Vitor Belfort

It should come as no surprise that the No. 2 spot goes to the man who will be fighting for the very title Silva lost, Vitor Belfort. Officially ranked No. 3 at the time of publication, Belfort’s only losses in what is now his third-run in the UFC have come in two failed title bids, the first to Silva and the second a short-notice fight with Jones. His UFC career spans all the way back to UFC 12, he’s a former UFC light heavyweight champion, has knocked out his last three opponents, and is one of the few people who stand as proof of Silva’s abilities. Because if you can beat this guy, then you’re not overrated.

 

No. 1: Chris Weidman

The saying you have to beat the man to be the man stand no less true than it does for current UFC middleweight champion Chris Weidman. Gimmicks, injuries and controversies aside, Weidman solidified his position at the top of the division by not only besting Silva twice, but following it up with a dominant performance against the always game Lyoto Machida. If we measure a champion by the quality of his contenders, then everyone else on this list of not only a testament to how good Silva was, but Weidman’s list is starting off much stronger with the inclusion of Silva and Machida. The upcoming bout with Belfort serves as a quality test for both men: Can Weidman defeat Belfort as convincingly as Silva did or were his fights with Silva flukes and we’ll see his true faults?

About The Author

Associate Editor/Senior Writer
  • postal worker bruce

    nah, silva is washed up