Friday, 26 August 2011 17:21
By: Mike Coughlin
Live Forever, Anderson Silva
Anderson Silva, would you like to be an Immortal?
They have told the world that you are the greatest fighter living; that you are the greatest who has ever lived. Tomorrow, you can prove it, and all you have to do is fight. You are the rare fighter who is truly judged only by his actions inside the cage. You don't make appearances on Jay Leno like Jon Jones, you're not in Gatorade commercials like Georges St. Pierre, and you don't get to be the center of other people's countdown specials like Chael Sonnen. When people accused you of being aloof and weird, it was because of how you fought Demian Maia and Thales Leites, not because of any interview you gave. When they speak of you as being violent and destructive, it isn't as a result of a menacing stare or reputation as a street fighter, it's because you brutalized Rich Franklin and front-kicked Vitor Belfort to sleep. Like so many artists who cry, "I only want to speak through my art" we only know you through how you fight.
Yet (and maybe because of that), at times, you have almost been a side-note. Leading up to your fights, the larger story seems to be your opponent: can Rich Franklin regain his title?; will Dan Henderson replicate his PRIDE success?; can Chael Sonnen back up his mouth?; will the "Old Vitor" show up? On Saturday, you have your chance for your moment. You are returning home to Brazil a conquering hero. The so-called birthplace of mixed martial arts will welcome you with open arms as you fight in front of tens of thousands of your countrymen in the main-event. On a show littered with well-known - but perhaps past their prime - Brazilian stars, you are the one man who can walk in (and out) of the cage while saying, "My countrymen, I am the best in the world. I am one of you. We can be proud of ourselves. I have not let you down. Live through me!"
This has happened before in the UFC. Georges St. Pierre had this opportunity and he was able to build a legacy as the new hero of Canada. He won his Welterweight Championship in his home town. He defended it in his hometown. He defended it again in his home country in front of more people than have ever witnessed a UFC. This can be your "Montreal Moment." This is your chance to become something more than just a great fighter - it is your chance to become a Great Man.
All eyes are on you. Yushin Okami is the side-note now, the potential historical afterthought to your great triumph. A spectacular win at UFC 134 gives you that indelible moment. You can stand in the center of the famed Octagon while grown men will cheer for you without hesitation. You can raise the belt above your head as they scream until their throats give out. You have the chance to bask in the glory of being a national hero. You just have to win, and win decisively. Do not dance or preen to the crowd, do not embarrass yourself in an attempt to embarrass your opponent - just walk forward and hit Okami with the dart-like accuracy that dropped Chris Leben and Forrest Griffin; maintain the composure that let you tap out Dan Henderson and Chael Sonnen, wield the hammer-like power that felled from James Irvin and Vitor Belfort.
Your career has built to this moment. Win and you will never die. Dominate and you will never die. Do what you have done in every single fight of your UFC career and you will never die. Tomorrow, Anderson Silva, become more. Live forever.
Mike Coughlin is the host of FIVE STAR RADIO. He's quite sure that one of you will kill him.