Anderson Silva rewrote the history book during his time atop the Ultimate Fighting Championship’s middleweight mountain.
“The Spider” made his debut on the Brazilian regional scene in 1997 and later tested the waters in Shooto, Pride Fighting Championships and Cage Rage before landing in the UFC, where he became a full-blown superstar and one of the all-time greats. Silva’s run inside the Octagon included victories over five former UFC, Strikeforce or Pride champions: Rich Franklin (twice), Dan Henderson, Nate Marquardt, Forrest Griffin and Vitor Belfort. Though his reputation has taken a hit due to a late-career collapse and a positive test for anabolic steroids, the one-time UFC middleweight titleholder’s legacy was cemented long ago.
As the mixed martial arts world awaits word on Silva’s next move, here are five things you might not know about him:
1. He grew accustomed to carrying gold.
Silva remains one of 10 men who have captured the Shooto middleweight championship—Yasuto Sekishima, Yoshimasa Ishikawa, Naoki Sakurada, Hayato Sakurai, Jake Shields, Akira Kikuchi, Shinya Aoki, Luis Ramos and Hernani Perpetuo are the others—and one of two fighters, along with Paul Jenkins, to lay claim to the Cage Rage middleweight title.