by Kieran Malone for MMAWeekly.com

Anderson Silva attempts to solidify his growing legacy this
Saturday at UFC Fight Night 14 in Las Vegas.

Since his arrival in the Ultimate Fighting Championship, Silva has catapulted
from relative obscurity to the No. 1 middleweight fighter in the world and is
widely acclaimed as the best pound-for-pound fighter in the sport. His quest
for greatness brings him to the light heavyweight class where his adversary
will be knockout striker James "The Sandman" Irvin.

The precision striking Silva bids for a successful entry in a third weight
class. He began his career at welterweight, where he honed his skills as a
talented young fighter. He came to the attention of MMA fans worldwide when he
shocked Hayato “Mach” Sakurai to claim the Shooto 167-pound title and handed the
Japanese legend his first professional loss. This gave people a glimpse of the
immense talent that Silva possessed.

His career really took off when he moved up a division to the middleweight
class. He excelled in the division with wins over the top middleweights in the
world en route to the UFC title. With dominating victories over opponents such
as Dan Henderson, Nate Marquardt, and two destructive performances over former
champion Rich Franklin, Silva ascended to the top of the division.

His most recent bout further highlighted his growing power and intimidating
presence as he defeated former Pride 185-pound and 205-pound champion Dan
Henderson. He systematically picked apart Henderson like no fighter has done
before him. Silva’s emphatic display of crushing force in
that fight demonstrated his development as a fighter and dominance over the
weight class.

After leaving a trail of battered opponents behind him in the UFC middleweight
division, Silva now enters the realm of light heavyweights in a gambit to reign
over another weight class. The Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt is the first UFC
champion that Dana White has willingly allowed to move up a weight category and
still retain his belt.

"Anderson Silva, being the monster that he is, you all know is going to
move up to 205 on July 19. He’s going to fight at 205. If everything goes well,
he wants to move back to 185 and fight Sept. 6 in Atlanta, probably against
Yushin Okami, then he wants to fight again two months later," White

The move to light heavyweight could cement Silva’s position as pound-for-pound
king and further add to his increasing legendary status. Decisions like this
illustrate his desire to seek the hardest challenges so he can test his skills
against the best. Silva has became one of the most
respected figures in the sport due to his competitive attitude and work ethic.

"When I talk about real fighters, this is the kind of guy I’m talking
about. This guy sat down in a meeting with us, literally, two months ago and
said you’re not fighting me enough, I want to fight more," explained the
UFC president. "And he wants to keep proving himself. He’s one of these
guys that said my window is this big and I want to get everything in before
this window closes."

In the past two, years Silva’s improvement as a fighter has been very notable.
The entertaining Brazilian has dazzled with his destructive striking skills
leaving fans in awe of his power and the accuracy of his strikes. Silva is more
of a complete fighter having earned his black belt in BJJ under the Nogueira


Being an extremely exciting fighter has led to a surge in
popularity for the Brazilian and has put him on the verge of super stardom.

"He wants to hold both the 185- and the 205-pound belt and he wants to
defend them both. Normally I won’t let guys do stuff like that because it’s
just… stupid. I’ll let Anderson Silva do it," said White.

James Irvin stands in his Anderson Silva’s way this Saturday and hopes to
derail the champion’s foray at light heavyweight.


“You want to bet against me, go ahead. I have nothing to
lose in this fight. This fight is a win-win fight for me. I’m not going to go
in there and be anyone’s punching bag. I have no problem taking two of his to
get one of mine. If we get into a slugfest going back and forth, I guarantee
you I’m going to win,” said Irvin confidently.


With what is sure to be a stand up battle, Silva vs. Irvin
could easily be a candidate for “Fight of the Night.” A win on Saturday night
could prove to be a pivotal step in Anderson Silva’s career. If he were to
attain both the middleweight and light heavyweight belts, Silva would achieve a
feat that very few fighters have ever reached. A prosperous future seems
inevitable for the highly skilled fighter who has already seen glory in two