Anderson Silva v Nick Diaz – UFC 183 – Saturday 31st January 2015
At #2 in my countdown of the fights to look forward to early next year, attentions turn to UFC 183 and the long-awaited return of mixed martial arts legend ‘The Spider’ Anderson Silva
Anderson Silva makes his comeback from the horrifying career-threatening leg break suffered in his re-match defeat to Chris Weidman almost 12 months ago, facing bad boy Nick Diaz who is returning to the Octagon for the first time since his loss to Georges St-Pierre at UFC 158.
Having vowed not to test the legitimacy of recovery in his Brazilian opponent’s leg, Diaz should ask serious questions of Silva. Returning after consecutive defeats to Weidman, can the former middleweight champion return to anywhere near his imperious best? Silva has re-assured fans that he has fully recovered and will surely be targeting a return to the middleweight title picture should he earn the win.
There will still be doubts surrounding a 39 year old fighter returning from an injury as serious as the one he suffered when kicking Weidman. Even a full medical recovery cannot fully eliminate those mental doubts as he plants his right foot forward on the offensive and aims a kick with his left, but this highly anticipated return could be exactly what the former champion needs.
The Brazilian faced accusations of complacency and disrespect when caught with his guard down in the first defeat to Weidman. On that occasion the challenger seized his chance to knock Silva out to claim the belt. An incident like that had been due, Silva overstepping the trash talking and goading of opponents during fights many times before. A renewed focus after injury though could give him a new lease of life as he approaches his twilight years.
Hopefully a focussed Anderson Silva can put the previous defeats to Weidman and questions over the state of his body to bed in a strong showing at UFC 183.
Nobody likes to see the career of a legend fade out in the midst of failed comebacks and mounting fitness problems. Maybe one last assault on UFC gold will bring the very best out of one of the sport’s truly global icons.
Anderson Silva might allow himself a round to gauge how much the previous injury limits his effectiveness in competitive combat, however if and when the belief grows you wouldn’t put it past him turning on the style and dismantling Nick Diaz before they sound the bell for the final five minutes.
The Cali-born BJJ black-belt has all the tools to inflict his own damage on Silva. He may do well though to avoid getting caught up in the bombast and theatrics Silva’s comeback is set to attract.