Anderson Silva hadn't so much as been tested in the cage, sure he had a few losses on his record --one, a 2-round decision loss to Luiz Azeredo in 2000 before he was "Anderson Silva," another two where he outclassed opponents but got caught in flash submissions, and one where he was disqualified.
Silva had never been dominated in a fight.
But here he found himself, battered and bruised in the fifth round of a UFC championship fight with a whirling dervish on top of him raining down leather. Chael Sonnen had talked trash the entire build up to the fight, and he was backing it up, beating Silva as no one thought possible.
The champ was soundly defeated to that point, he'd lost every round of the fight, but somehow, in the final minutes of that round, he managed to slip his leg around Sonnen's right arm and lock in a fight ending triangle choke.
It was the stuff of legend. The crowd erupted along with Sonnen's will, and the dominant behemoth was forced to tap out, just minutes from middleweight gold.
Silva could barely stand when accepting his belt. His face was a battered mess as he delivered his post fight comments thanking his home country for their support.
Coming into his second fight with Sonnen this passed summer at UFC 147, the champ would rely on that support again, and his countryman came to Vegas in droves give it to him. But this time, there would be no need for a fight saving submisson as Silva dominated Sonnen, sending him reeling to the canvas in the fights second frame, where he promptly finished him against the cage.
Again the crowed erupted, and again Silva thanked his countrymen.
So yesterday, when news of featherweight champion Jose Aldo's injury reached Silva, the champ wanted to do something to repay his native country for all the support they showed him in his last fight with Sonnen.
"The reason I decided to accept this fight was to reciprocate the affection I received from the Brazilians in my last fight," Silva told SporTV. "It was supposed to be in Brazil, but for technical reasons ended up being in Las Vegas. Even so, I felt that the Brazilian people were with me, the ones who watched [on TV] and those who were there."
The longest tenured UFC champ in history had originally planned to take the rest of the year off, but after the injury to his countryman, he felt a responsibility to fight.
"I did not want another event in Brazil harmed," Silva said. "So I decided to accept. Do not just be a hero who signs autographs, but be a Brazilian who understands the responsibility to repay the fans."
UFC 153: Silva vs. Bonnar will mark the second time Silva has competed for the UFC in his home country. He defeated Yushin Okami in front of his countryman August of last year. This time he'll face Bonnar at the HSBC Arena on Oct. 13 in Rio de Jeneiro.