The UFC has announced that Anderson Silva will be inducted into the UFC Hall of Fame later this year.
The former middleweight champion was announced as part of the “Pioneer Wing” of the Hall of Fame during Saturday’s UFC 286 broadcast.
Silva began fighting professionally in 1997 and would make his debut in Pride five years later. He would win championships in Shooto and Cage Rage prior to being signed by the UFC in 2006 and taking over the middleweight division and becoming one of the top fighters of all time.
After beating Chris Leben in 49 seconds, he received an immediate title fight and unseated the division’s champion, Rich Franklin at UFC 64 in October 2007.
Silva would hold the championship for nearly six years with ten title defenses including victories against Dan Henderson, Thales Leites, Demian Maia, Vitor Belfort, and Yushin Okami.
His biggest rival was Chael Sonnen with their first fight occurring in August 2010 as Sonnen promoted the fight for months with his trash talk and became a superstar from his self-promotion. It produced one of the most epic comebacks in MMA history as Silva had lost the previous four rounds and was on the verge of losing his title when he caught Sonnen with a triangle at 3:10 of the fifth round. In their match, Silva stopped Sonnen in the second round which was a more definitive victory. Both fights did huge business for the UFC and helped cement Silva’s status as one of the greatest ever.
Silva finally lost the title to Chris Weidman in July 2013 as well as their rematch later that year where Silva broke his leg in grotesque fashion.
He didn’t fight again until January 2015, returning to beat Nick Diaz in a fight that was overturned after Silva failed a drug test after testing positive for Drostanolone and Androsterone.
The late stage of his career saw Silva fail to capture the heights of his previous years, going 1-5 in his final six fights with the UFC before leaving the company after a TKO loss to Uriah Hall in October 2020, his third consecutive defeat.
Silva transitioned to boxing and produced wins against Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. and Tito Ortiz in 2021 before losing to Jake Paul by a unanimous decision last October. He has a 3-2 record as a boxer including two fights from 1998 and 2005 before his UFC tenure.
Silva is one of the all-time greatest fighters and a major influence on many of today’s generation of fighters.
He will be inducted into this year’s Hall of Fame class, which includes Jose Aldo and Jens Pulver.