On the UFC’s latest excursion to London, the main event was set, and Anderson Silva was returning to fight on the UK shores for the first time since way back in 2006; the man he was competing against was England’s own Michael Bisping.

    Bisping, for the most part, has had an up and down record with the company since winning the Ultimate Fighter in 2006. After looking very promising on several occasions, “The Count” has been given title eliminators against the likes of Dan Henderson and Chael Sonnen, but has always fallen at the final hurdle. Upon losing that fight to Sonnen, Bisping would go 3-4 during that period of almost three years. However, 2015 became a turning point for the British fighter, as he would defeat both CB Dollaway and Thales Leites, leading to the announcement of the Silva bout on home turf.

    After a back and forth fight, which at times was mired in controversy, Bisping managed to pick up the win, catapulting himself back into the title picture once again. However, for the 40-year-old Silva, times in the UFC have never looked bleaker.

    Once upon a time, Silva was a remarkable fighter, one that had taken every challenger in the UFC and soundly defeated each one. He took Rich Franklin and dismantled him within the clinch, he rose to Light Heavyweight to compete against Forrest Griffin and picked shots on the counter to make the former champion look like an amateur and on his debut, Silva defeated Chris Leben within one minute.

    This was a man who at one point was 16-0 in the UFC. He is now 16-3 (1 NC), and looking like a shadow of his former self.

    The problem with Silva now is not just his age, although that does slow every fighter down eventually and the strongest part of his game is his head movement, or was anyway. On top of him growing older, “The Spider” has been fighting less and less, due to injuries and suspensions. After his two losses against Chris Weidman, Silva spent all of 2014 on the sidelines, and then spent most of 2015 on suspension due to his positive steroids test in his fight against Nick Diaz.

    It is the case that the age old adage is relevant here – “You either die a hero, or live long enough to see yourself become the villain.”

    Back in 2012, fresh off his win over Stephan Bonnar, Anderson Silva still had his 16-0 record, but was 37 years old. Everybody was questioning as to whether he would sign a new contract or walk away from the fight game due to his age. He of course broke precedent and signed a ten-fight contract, when it may well have been the better option to walk away.

    Silva breaks his leg in horrific fashion at UFC 168
    Silva breaks his leg in horrific fashion at UFC 168

    Since signing his deal, Silva has lost twice against Weidman, had his leg snapped in the process, been caught in a steroids scandal and lost a decision against a man who couldn’t have touched him four years ago.

    That’s a hell of a run to go on, and the only reason Anderson Silva is still in his position is because of what he has done for the sport. Much like Chuck Liddell, Tito Ortiz and Ken Shamrock, retirement could well be the best option for the Brazilian, who has nothing left to accomplish within the sport of mixed martial arts.

    The other option is that he drops further down the list to take a fight. Who next? Possibly Gegard Mousasi or maybe Dan Henderson? Upon losing to Bisping, Silva will not take a fight against a higher ranked competitor than the Brit, who will now surely leapfrog Silva in the rankings, which eliminates the possibility of choosing between fellow Brazilians Lyoto Machida or Vitor Belfort.

    Silva has nothing to prove in the UFC anymore. Legends can very easily be tarnished and Silva is close to obliterating his from memories of fans worldwide. Being caught up in scandals and a losing streak will do his career no good.