Anderson Silva Photos Courtesy UFC®
By Zack Zeigler
with Doug Cion and Nathan Smith
Anderson "The Spider" Silva is no stranger to success. He's one of the world's top-ranked Mixed Martial Artists and has defended his Ultimate Fighting Championship Middleweight Title against some of the sport's top fighters (including two TKOs against former Middleweight Champion Rich Franklin).
Needless to say, the Brazilian Muay-Thai/Jiu-Jitsu expert has solidified his presence as a dominant force inside of UFC's Octagon. However, it's not just Silva's ability to "Hulk Smash" his opponents that has gravitated Marvelites the world over to watching "The Spider" compete- he also happens to be one of the biggest Spider-Man fans around.
"I began collecting back in 1984," he said. "I own many Spider-Man [comics], including first editions, as well as Iron Man, Hulk and Thor."
in the octagon
On July 19, as part of Spike TV's UFC Fight Night, Silva will move up in weight class to test his abilities against James "The Sandman" Irvin. While UFC's "Spider vs. Sandman" clash may cause some fanboys to flashback to "Spider-Man 3's" epic battle between the two classic comic icons, Silva has assured Marvel.com that he won't sling webs or use spider sense to emerge victorious.
"I will use my wisdom against 'Sandman,' which I think is many times superior to that of my opponent's in a fight," Silva said. "I train a little of everything - Jiu-Jitsu, wrestling, boxing, Muay-Thai - there's no specific martial art that we concentrate on; MMA involves everything. I feel relaxed about [the fight]."
The Spider's sting!
With a record of 21-4, the 5'11" 185-pounder has clearly shown that much like his idol Spidey, he possesses great power-just ask any of the 12 dudes he's KO'd during competition. Silva has also taken it upon himself to make comics one of his great responsibilities.
"[Spider-Man's] style is similar to me, especially his speed," he said. "I identify with his daily life. His way of being, how he is always playful even through bad times, he always tries to solve things in the best way possible and is always happy. I think I am kind of like that too."
There's another way the two are similar-whoever dares test "The Spider's" skills usually ends up bruised and beaten. For performing each of their respective heroics, there's something else that now bonds them forever-an action figure that UFC has put into production to join the many Spider-Man ones he owns.
"I feel fulfilled professionally and personally," Silva said about having his talents as a fighter honored with his own figurine. "I am very happy to be part of MMA history, to be remembered by those who will buy the action figure."
The Marvel Universe is populated with buzz about super fights and dream competition among super heroes, and the MMA world is no different. There is one question that continues to creep up like a Skrull in an Avengers' meeting: Will a victory against Irvin move Silva one step closer to another super fight that would pit "The Spider" against "The Iceman" Chuck Liddell?
Silva was coy with his answer, but much like his favorite super hero, "The Spider" would never back down from a challenge.
"I don't know...Maybe there could be a chance," he said.
Watch Anderson "The Spider" Silva in action when he takes on James "The Sandman" Irvin, live July 19 on Spike TV at 9 PM ET/6 PM PT.
For more about Anderson, check out his profile on UFC.com.
Anderson Silva's Super Fight Predictions:
|The Punisher vs. Jason "The Punisher" Lambert|
|The Hulk vs. Quinton "Rampage" Jackson|
|(laughs) The Hulk I would think.|
|Wolverine vs. George St. Pierre (For the Pride of Canada)|
|Galactus vs. Brock Lesnar|
|Galactus I guess.|
|Anderson "The Spider" Silva vs. Spider-Man|
|That would have to be a tie.|