Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva walked out to the Octagon on Sunday looking like a new man. Maybe it was the freshly grown beard, maybe it was the look of determination in his eyes, but seeing it, you expected big things from Bigfoot. Instead, it was the same old story from the hulking Brazilian heavyweight — so maybe it’s time for a change of scenery.

It’s painful to see any fighter knocked out repeatedly, suffering the kind of losses Silva has. Especially at heavyweight, however, knockouts are a part of a fighter’s life. While there’s always concern for a fighter’s long-term health and well-being, it’s simply physics as far as how easy the big men can knock one another out cold. Or TKO them with a barrage of heavy strikes until the ref takes mercy and waves off the fight.

With just one win in his last seven outings, intervention from the ref has been coming far too frequently for a fighter considered to be a top-tier heavyweight. The reality is, at 36 years old, Bigfoot’s best days are behind him, and he may never have been as good a fighter as the UFC and many fans seemed to think. He will always be known for wins over Fedor Emelianenko and Andrei Arlovski, but he faced those fighters at the right time: Arlovski, during what would become a four fight losing streak, the worst of his career, and the Last Emperor coming off his shocking loss to Fabaricio Werdum.

When Silva entered the UFC from Strikeforce, the UFC immediately matched him up with Cain Velasquez, a move that propped Cain up more than anything, then rewarded him with a rematch — this time for the UFC heavyweight title — following an impressive pair of knockouts over Travis Browne and Alistair Overeem.

Yet again, maybe the results were deceiving. In the Overeem fight, Bigfoot benefited from the Reem fighting cocky, hands down, chin up, and even still, he fought a good portion of the bout from his back. And against Browne, Silva did score an early knockout — but only after Browne had seriously injured his hamstring, leading to months in recovery. In short, Browne was a sitting duck waiting to be put out of his misery in that fight.

Since defeating Overeem, Bigfoot’s only victory was an August 2015 TKO of Soa Palalei, a tough fighter to be sure, but not someone in the upper echelons of the UFC heavyweight division. Losses continue to pile up: a second bout with Andrei Arlovski, Frank Mir, Mark Hunt, Stefan Struve. All by way of knockout or TKO. Yes, there was the great draw with Mark Hunt in the pair’s first fight, but a draw, tainted by a drug test failure, only gets you so far.

So what’s next for Antonio Silva?

A cut from the UFC at this point wouldn’t be unwarranted, and honestly, might be best for the big man’s career. Bigfoot is still an exciting fighter to watch, but the reality is that the game, at least in the UFC, has passed him by. In the WSOF, or better yet Bellator MMA, run by Silva’s old boss Scott Coker, he easily comes in at the top of the weight class, as a name who can headline or co-headline cards and possibly rejuvenate his career. Cheick Kongo and Matt Mitrone seem much closer to Bigfoot in terms of the quality of competition he should be facing. The only question is, will the UFC make the move, given how reluctant they are to lose heavyweights? It may turn out to be best for business for both parties, however, if they do part ways. Certainly for Silva, as a change of scenery is just what the doctor ordered.

About The Author

Senior Staff Writer

Covering the sport of MMA from Ontario, Canada, Jay Anderson has been writing for various publications covering sports, technology, and pop culture since 2001. Jay holds an Honours Bachelor of Arts degree in English from the University of Guelph, and a Certificate in Leadership Skills from Humber College under the Ontario Management Development Program. When not slaving at the keyboard, he can be found in the company of his dog, a good book, or getting lost in the woods.