Between the rotator cuff injury he fought through against Yushin Okami and the rib injury during his scrap with Chael Sonnen, Anderson Silva is becoming a bizarro version of Tito Ortiz — meaning that he makes injury excuses after winning fights. His latest ouchie is enough to take the UFC middleweight champion out of action for the rest of the year. Silva’s manager Ed Soares informed MMA Fighting this weekend that the Spider’s bum shoulder will most likely keep him benched until the first quarter of 2012.
So here’s the good news: 1) Silva will not need surgery to treat it, and should be back to 100% after some rest and rehabilitation. 2) It’s not like Silva needed to fight again this year anyway. And I don’t mean just financially, although he’s clearly rich beyond measure. More importantly, there won’t be a legit challenger to his belt set up until at least January.
The UFC 136 bout between Chael Sonnen and Brian Stann on October 8th is thought to be a #1 contender’s match in the middleweight division. And while it would be great to see the winner of that fight take on the winner of Bisping/Miller to produce an undisputed challenger — who Silva could destroy before permanently jumping to light-heavyweight — it’s a safe bet that Sonnen or Stann will get the nod, probably around February or March. So no harm there.
But here’s a question: Are Silva’s injuries starting to becoming a trend? Based simply on talent, Silva could continue to dominate the sport a long as he feels like it. But after 14 years of kicking ass around the world, physical deterioration could be his biggest enemy. (Remember when Anderson wanted to retire in 2009, around his 35th birthday? We’re already talking about 2012, here.) Silva has already made the nine-year-rule his bitch — but how much longer can he realistically stay on top, considering that he inhabits a mortal body?