Former middleweight champion Anderson Silva hadn’t won a fight since October 2012 when he stepped into the Octagon on Saturday in the UFC 208 co-main event against eighth-ranked Derek Brunson. The 41-year-year-old isn’t what he used to be, but he’s still good enough to compete against the top talent the 185-pound division has to offer.
Silva took the center of the cage and waited for Brunson to move forward. When Brunson did initiate an exchange, Silva answered with counter shots. Silva showed glimpses of his younger self, throwing wheel kicks and flying knees.
As impressive as it is to witness Silva’s striking, his takedown defense was on full display inside the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. Brunson attempted nine takedowns through the three-round fight and Silva was able to stuff seven of them.
Brunson had his moments, but didn’t put Silva in any real danger. He landed strikes, but was told by his corner before the final round that he was showing the former champion ‘too much respect.’ He was able to take Silva down in the final minute of the fight and keep him there. But it wasn’t enough to sway the judges. After fifteen minutes of fighting the judges scored it 29-28, 29-28, and 30-27 for Silva.
When the scorecards were read, Silva was overcome with emotion and took several minutes to gather himself before answering questions from commentator Joe Rogan.
“I know I’m too old for fight. All the guys in here are too fast for me. But I put in my life, I put in my heart, because fight is life for me,” said Silva after his 34th career win.
“Now, I just come to fight happy because I love my job. I love UFC. I love my fans. For a long time it was my dream, fighting here in New York,” he said.