The word was that Roy Jones, Jr. was at UFC 101 scouting out Anderson Silva, to get a look at the UFC Middleweight Champion up close. Silva has made no secret of the fact he wants to box Roy Jones, Jr. He would do it today if he could. However, he has this little thing called a contract with a big company called Zuffa that will not allow it. Not now. Not ever, as long as he is in the UFC.
Anderson Silva had fell under heavy criticism following his last two fights. First there was the very odd fight against Patrick Cote. Silva danced around Cote, played with him, dodged, ducked, and glided all over the Octagon until Cote’s knee gave out and was unable to continue. Due to the anti-climactic ending to a main event fight, fans left unsatisfied.
To top that off, Silva’s next fight was against Thales Leites who chose to flop to his back every time the champ got within striking distance. What fans ended up seeing was a three round uneventful decision. Silva would not play Leites’ game and Leites would not play Silva’s. It was a disaster.
Although Silva was victorious against Cote and Leites, it was not pretty, and the back-to-back let-downs caused the fans to turn on Silva. Forgotten was the beautiful ballet of violence Silva had danced all over the UFC’s middleweight division, running through the sport’s top 185-pounders like a bull in Pamplona.
Fans did not like this new version of Silva. Even some of the MMA media began calling him “cocky” and “arrogant,” and his role as the top pound-for-pound fighter was called into question.
Anderson Silva silenced all his critics Saturday night in Philadelphia. He left the jaws of fickle fans and forgetful media wide open in awe. He took the original Ultimate Fighter, a former UFC light heavyweight champion, and made him look foolish, as if he did not even belong in the same ring.
Even those who thought Silva would defeat Griffin most likely could not have envisioned such a performance. Three times within three minutes Griffin found himself knocked to the canvas. The final blow from Silva came as he was moving backwards, hands by his sides, slipping a Griffin punch combo. It basically looked like a jab…but it was perfectly accurate…and deceptively powerful.
After regaining enough sense to get back to his feet, the embarrassed Griffin ran out of the cage. At the post-fight press conference UFC President Dana White was asked where Griffin was. He did not know. “He could be in Georgia by now,” said White.
Silva fought Griffin basically the same way he did against Cote and Leites. The only difference seemed to be the level of aggression Griffin brought into the ring. Critics can theorize for days on why “The Spider” looked less than super in his last two bouts, and whether it was his fault or his opponents. The important thing is the fact the UFC and the fans got their hero back.
Those who never thought Silva would stand a chance in the boxing ring with Roy Jones, Jr. may have to rethink their position. Stephan Bonnar got a look at Jones’ reaction to Silva’s knockout of Griffin. “I was sitting right behind Roy Jones and he just had a look of ‘Wow!’ on his face like maybe this would be a tough boxing match for me after all,” said Bonnar.
By: Jack Bratcher