Like Kenny Rogers said, “You got to know when to hold ’em, know when to fold ’em, know when to walk away, know when to run.”
It’s a good lesson for Anderson Silva, arguably the greatest mixed martial artist of all time.
Silva is making headlines again after saying this:
“I believe that, if you pay attention to these technical details, you will see that (checking the kick) was instinct, not something that he trained to do,” Silva told Brazilian media outlet Globo. “No, I don’t think (Weidman should consider it a win). It was an accident. And I’m pretty sure I would have won the fight.”
That’s sounds like crazy talk. If that’s truly what Silva believes, he should consider hanging it up. Here’s why Silva should retire:
5. Leave Now, Be Remembered As A Legend
Real fight fans know that Muhammad Ali was the best boxer of all-time, a man who revolutionized the sport and the pop culture around it. Do you remember how he went out? After losing two fights, to Larry Holmes (quitting on his stool) and then a unanimous decision loss to Trevor Berbick. Ali was 38 years old when he fought Holmes and 39 years old when he fought Berbick. It was a sad way for a legend to go out. Ali should have retired after avenging his loss to Leon Spinks. Instead, he passed the torch to Holmes, then lost to Berbick, both men who were knocked out pretty quickly by Mike Tyson. Ali will always be a legend, but we will also always have those memories of him getting beat by younger, not necessarily better, fighters.
4. He’s 38 Years Old
That’s a great age in live, but not necessarily in combat sports. In boxing and MMA years, 38 is ancient. Yes, there are stories of great athletes enduring into the 40s, but it’s not common. Even if the Weidman victories were flukes, Silva will be at least 39 years old when he returns. That’s old for fighting. Older fighters naturally slow down. They know what to do, but their bodies don’t always react as fast as they used to. Even if he didn’t lose twice to Weidman, he should have been thinking about walking away anyway. He’s been fighting since 1997.
3. Stacked Middleweight Division
Weidman, Luke Rockhold, Michael Bisping, Tim Kennedy, Jacare Souza, these are all men who Silva doesn’t want to lose to, in Weidman’s case, again. If Silva comes back he will probably need to fight one of these guys before getting a title shot. Those odds aren’t in his favor. Those fighters are younger, hungrier and don’t have a lifetime of fights under their belts. It’s a tough, stacked middleweight division, and all of these fighters are formidable, title contenders. Weidman will have his hands full with them and Silva has already had two shots against the champion.
2. Family’s More Important
Silva is married with five children. He doesn’t need the money. He already broke his leg in his most recent fight. Why should he risk any more injuries. Silva should enjoy his life and time with his family and find new, possibly more rewarding opportunities. He’s already regarded as the greatest mixed martial artist of all-time. It’s not like if he comes back to the cage that he’s going to be regarded as any greater than he already is. He should spend more time with his family while he’s still a young man. In the end, it’s just fighting, and Silva already has enough money to pursue more important relationships without looking back.
1. It’s Not Hollywood
If it were a script, Silva would have ended 2013 with a triumphant submission victory over Weidman, avenging a “fluke” loss and ending the year the way it began: As the greatest mixed martial artist in the world. Instead, it went from bad to worse for Silva. He was knocked out in July and broke his leg in December. The chances that Silva will beat Weidman in a third fight are even less likely than him pulling off a victory in the rematch.
Let’s look at history. Mike Tyson never beat Evander Holyfield in two tries. Sugar Ray Leonard was knocked out in his final fight. Oscar de la Hoya quit against Manny Pacquiao. Great fighters usually lose their comeback fights. The odds are greater that Silva will lose again if he did actually get a title shot against Weidman. Silva is in the real world and in the real world he’s arguably the greatest mixed martial artist of all time, and he should walk away while every still remembers that.