Despite having lost six of his last eight fights prior to UFC 139, Wanderlei Silva, would not, could not, call it a career. He was not willing to go out on a knockout loss to Chris Leben.
Many people thought that Cung Le on Saturday night would be the final nail in Wanderlei’s coffin, with UFC president Dana White being one of the more vocal proponents of a Wanderlei retirement.
The fight started out as many expected, Cung digging into his Tekken-esque bag of tricks, throwing, and landing, everything from spinning backfists to spinning heel kicks to axe kicks and more at Wanderlei.
Of course Wanderlei had experience on his side, but the one factor that really pulled it out for him was heart. Despite getting rocked at numerous turns, the legendary Brazilian dug deep and did what he does best… he blitzed Cung in and all-out assault.
He sward Cung with punches, launched his infamous head kick, and then dropped the former Strikeforce champion with a right hand. Not one to give in either, Cung got back up, but Wanderlei headlocked him, driving several knees into his skull. A stiff left jab and another Thai knee to the face later and Cung was on the floor again, this time Wanderlei followed him down and finished him off with a series of hammerfists.
The fight would have to chalk up as one of the more exciting fights in Wanderlei’s storied career… and it also saved him from what would surely been an insurmountable amount of pressure from his boss to call it quits.