Anderson Silva is, in the opinion of most, the greatest fighters to compete in this wacky sport. After an unprecedented tear through the 185-pound ranks “The Spider” has never failed to win inside the Ultimate Fighting Championship with 10 title defenses, 15 consecutive victories and 12 post-fight bonuses to boast about.
The Brazilian will go down in history as one of the best to don a pair of MMA gloves but everyone starts out as a nobody. Silva was an unheard of entity in 2001 with a 6-1 record when he faced Hayato “Mach” Sakurai who was widely regarded as the best fighter at 167-pounds.
Sakurai was one of the finest exports from Shooto. The consensus pound-for-pound star had never tasted defeat at this point with wins over Tetsuji Kato, Caol Uno and Frank Trigg and it was expected to be a walk in the park when he met the sports newcomer.
As you can probably guess from this, Silva broke through the mold that night, winning his first championship in MMA that opened the door for him to enter the Pride Fighting Championships. And, as they say, the rest is history.