At the start of UFC 132, all the talk about retirement or an exit from the Octagon circled around former light heavyweight champion Tito Ortiz, who was literally fighting for his career.
A submission win over Ryan Bader secured Ortiz’s spot in the company, but just one fight later another icon may have seen his last day in the Octagon.
Wanderlei Silva, after a 16-month layoff, came into his fight with Chris Leben expecting fireworks and a throwback to the days when he ruled the Pride ring with ferocious force and overwhelming power.
When the night was over with less than a minute expired on the clock, Silva was face down on the mat after catching several uppercuts courtesy of Leben, and the victim of a knockout much like he did to so many past opponents.
The loss was Silva’s 4th since coming to the UFC versus two wins, but the violent nature by which he was finished made UFC President Dana White speculate that we’ve likely seen the last of the ‘Axe Murderer’ in the Octagon.
White stated that Silva’s likely done with the promotion after suffering his 4th knockout loss in his last 8 fights.
A bastion of poetic violence in the cage, Wanderlei Silva will always be seen as one of the greatest fighters to ever grace the sport of MMA, but his best days may be behind him.
Although with the loss still fresh in his mind, Dana White may be a prisoner of the moment, but it remains to be seen if he will give Silva another shot after reflecting on the event a few days or even weeks from now.
White did say that he would likely sit down with Silva and have a conversation with him following the night’s event, and joked he may have to ‘Chuck Liddell’ him into retirement, obviously referencing the long battle the UFC President had to go through to get his close friend and former light heavyweight champion to walk away from the sport.
If this is the end, Silva would exit the UFC as one of the greatest champions, ambassadors and heroes to MMA fighters and fans across the world.