A single thought crossed my mind as I watched Jason "Mayhem" Miller ineffectively wing punches at Michael "The Count" Bisping. It popped up again as Bisping was unable to drop an exhausted Miller despite landing 150 strikes, most to the MTV star's dome.
"Anderson Silva would kill either of these guys."
It seems like a given right? Silva, after all, is the top fighter in the world. Maybe in history. Even at the ripe old age of 36, he has to be the prohibitive favorite any time he and "his mentor" Steven Seagal strut down to the cage.
But it's one thing to be a betting favorite. It's another to occupy a plane of existence that makes it impossible to even imagine a legitimate top 10 contender like Bisping beating you. That's how good Silva is.
Watching Miller sneak in punches in the first round that were about as subtle as a Flo Rida rhyme, and you could just see the looks Anderson would flash if he were in the cage. The disdain would be glorious. There's no better moment than the moment Silva realizes that his opponent has truly no hope.
Try to picture Bisping lumbering towards the champion, footwork patterns occupying his head like he was a 13 year old at his first middle school dance. Since the Dan Henderson fight at UFC 100 you can practically see Bisping's wheels turning. "Circle left, circle left. Wait. Damn it. Circle right! Circle right."
Lambs to a slaughter.
For Silva, it's both a gift and a curse. His consistent excellence has allowed the UFC to promote him as the best fighter in the world. It's also made it hard to convince anyone with a functioning cerebral cortex that fighters like Bisping have the slightest chance to upend him.
Instead, we watch to see how Anderson will dispatch the competition. Will he get angry at how awful the opponent is and make him suffer for five long rounds? Will he feel like dancing early, getting the after party started before the final bell rings? Or will he simply press the red button inside his long limbed body and annihilate on sight?
It seems likely that Bisping will get his long awaited title shot. Fraser Coffeen breaks it down at Bloody Elbow:
...more than anything, he benefits from being around for awhile in a shallow division. Silva has defeated Maia, he's defeated Belfort, he's defeated Okami, he's defeated Sonnen (and may do so for a 2nd time). Bisping is a fresh contender in a division woefully short on fresh contenders. Because honestly, who else is there? Mark Munoz is possible, and he'll get there before Bisping is he beats Sonnen. Brian Stann seemed like he had a shot, but was derailed by Sonnen. Mayhem doesn't look to be getting near the top anytime soon. So we are left with Bisping.
It seems inevitable that Bisping will end up in the same space at the same time as Anderson Silva. Inevitable, but not pretty. Silva will devour his soul like he has so many before. Fans will watch with the expectation of witnessing greatness, but not with any real feeling. It will all be very clinical - how will Silva win, not will he win. The gift and the curse of being the best.