After a decade of dominance, no one can argue that Anderson Silva is the most dangerous and talented MMA fighter of all time. Currently on a fifteen-fight winning streak, Silva has defended his belt a record ten times. His mystique and legacy have even surpassed that of the great Fedor Emelianenko.
Silva is in danger of becoming a victim of his own success, however. After cleaning out the majority of the division’s top fighters, Silva is running out of opponents. Nobody wants to see another sub-par pairing (Patrick Cote, Thales Leites, Demian Maia) squaring off with the champ. As many see it, there are only three people at 185 pounds that have the potential to unseat the Spider: Hector Lombard, Chris Weidman, and Alan Belcher.
Belcher, coming off a shockingly dominant victory over Brazillian Jiu-jitsu nightmare, Rousimar Palhares, had this to say during an interview with MMAInsider:
“There’s a lot of cool stuff happening with the middle-weight division; Exciting things are happening, so my time is coming pretty soon.”
Belcher, whose career was nearly ended in 2010 due to a detached retina, has established himself as one of the elite strikers in the middle-weight division. His recent victory over Palhares, where he dominated the feared BJJ black belt on the ground, showed that he is comfortable where ever the fight takes place. About a title fight, “The Talent” made his opinion known.
“I think that I’ve put together a nice little streak. [Disregarding the Akiyama fight], or if you think that was a win for me, that makes 7… But who knows? It’s all up to the UFC; what they think, what I want, I think that I can challenge Anderson Silva. I think I have the tools to do that as well as anyone else in the division, right now.”
Despite the hype currently propelling Weidman towards an early championship bid, Belcher instead remains humble, biding his time. “I just need to fight someone, and win.”
Personally, I think that Belcher and Silva are distorted reflections from the same mirror. Both are elite strikers. Silva is faster with his hands, while Belcher (who has the quads of a running back), has the more punishing kicks. This, I think, is a variable that the champ hasn’t had to deal with during his duration in the UFC.
Silva has out-struck boxers, and out-grappled some of the greatest wrestlers and BJJ practitioners that the UFC has ever known. When, however, was the last time you saw him face someone with a muay thai pedigree similar to his own? Someone who could drop bombs on Silva’s skinny legs?
Michael Bisping is brash; Lombard has a 20 win streak outside of the UFC; Weidman is being considered as the number one contender. Belcher is none of these things.
Belcher is the dark horse. His words are quiet and humble, but his fights are vicious and versatile. They show the capability of someone who might be able to beat The Spider at his own game.
PHOTO CREDIT – UFC