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Silva’s title reign started at UFC 64 on October 14, 2006

Silva’s title reign started at UFC 64 on October 14, 2006

October 15, 2011

Yesterday marked the five year anniversary ofAnderson Silva annihilating Rich Franklin to claim the UFC middleweight title.

It was his second consecutive victory in the UFC, a dominant performance that began what has become the most impressive championship reign in UFC history.

To be perfectly honest though, I don’t think Silva gets the credit he deserves.

That might sound crazy to a lot of people since the 36-year-old is considered the top pound-for-pound fighter in the sport today, and is on a very short list of contenders for the title of greatest of all-time.

Regardless of those two truths, I still think people forget how epic his reign really is.

We’ve become so accustomed to seeing incredible things out of Silva and having him as the middleweight champion and pound-for-pound king that the complete scope of what he’s accomplished doesn’t get the attention it deserves.

First and foremost, let’s just eliminate the “he fights in the weakest division in the sport” angle right here, right now.

That may very well be the case, but it still doesn’t change the fact that for the last five years, Anderson Silva hasn’t lost a fight. Pretty much everyone else competing at the highest levels has incurred a loss during that time; everyone except Silva.

In a sport where no one is unbeatable, Silva has been.

Where his accomplishments really get staggering is when you hold up his five-year title reign next to the list of champions in the other divisions.

Seven different fighters have worn the light heavyweight title during Silva’s time on the middleweight throne. Four more have been crowned heavyweight champ, not including the interim title reigns ofAntonio Rodrigo NogueiraFrank Mir, and Shane Carwin.

From the four other divisions that were a part of the UFC when Silva ascended to the top of the 185 pound ranks, 18 different fighters have been world champions. That number would probably be higher had the lightweight belt not lay dormant for 16 numbered events between Sean Sherk being stripped of the title and BJ Penn claiming it at UFC 80.

If you factor in the two newest divisional additions to the organization — featherweight and bantamweight — the number of fighters wearing championship gold during Silva’s time at the top climbs to 26, and it’s not like we’re talking about a collection of mediocre champions either.

Silva’s reign atop the middleweight ranks is longer than Matt Hughes‘ time as welterweight champion combined, and a 553 days more than George St-Pierre’s current run in the 170 pound ranks, the second-longest such reign in history.

Think about that for a second: if Silva walked away today, St-Pierre would need to remain champion for the next year-and-a-half just to equal Silva’s mark. I can’t be the only one who finds that incredible.

We’ve seen the man deemed the greatest lightweight in the history of the sport (BJ Penn) win and loss the lightweight title, his time at the top coming more than 1,000 days shy of Silva’s tenure in the 185 pound division.

Randy Couture came out of retirement, won the heavyweight title, and retired again, this time for good, all while Silva dominated at middleweight.

Jon Jones was still 18 months away from beginning his MMA career when Silva first beat Franklin, and Cain Velasquez had made his professional debut just a week earlier.

Saying he doesn’t get enough credit for his incredible title reign doesn’t sound so audacious now, does it?

Anderson Silva has been re-writing the history books right before our eyes for the last five years; sometimes we’ve just been too busy looking at other things to truly appreciate it.

Happy Anniversary Champ.

Source: Heavy