It was the break seen around the world.
At UFC® 168, one of Anderson "Spider” Silva's signature kicks was met by defending middleweight champion, Chris Weidman's, knee.
The audience watched in horror as Silva's left leg broke in half before their eyes.
That night and the following day, social media and YouTube lit up with people replaying the brutal break that caused the MMA legend to fall to the ground, clutching his leg, screaming in pain.
That was 11 months ago.
The fighter, who has broken a number of UFC® records and was once named the greatest fighter in UFC® history, has spent the last year recovering from the blow to his body and his career.
Despite having delivered hundreds of strong kicks throughout his MMA career, one forceful kick to Weidman had broken his fibula and tibia.
On the infamous night of the gruesome break, Silva received an emergency surgery in Las Vegas where a metal rod was inserted into his split leg. The fracture, however, did not have an effect on his joints. In reality, as far as tibia breaks go, Silva’s break was considered lucky.
The "Spider,” who seemed to move at a different speed in and out of the cage during his fighting career, has since made a full recovery. Well, physically.
Although he received full medical clearance in July, Silva admitted to reporters that he has been working with a psychologist to “get rid of the ghost of that incident.”
Silva also admitted he is more hesitant to make moves now that he has experienced an injury of that degree. And as clearly devastating as the break was, who could blame him?
Unfortunately, being cautious is not something that is an advantage in the Octagon™.
In a sport where instincts are key, fighters are expected to make quick, precise moves. Having been one of the most dangerous fighters, Silva is surely more aware of that than anyone. When asked about his leg, Silva says it is at about 91 percent.
"Spider” is known for his confidence in the Octagon™, though. He often played games with his opponents, mocking them while circling around the mat. With a 16-fight winning streak, it was almost as if Silva had the ability to foresee each fighter’s next move. However, if anything was ever going to slow him down, a break this traumatic certainly would.
Fans have been anxiously awaiting his return to the UFC® ever since 168.
It will be interesting to see if Silva will return as the Thai-fighting, jump-kicking fighter UFC® fans once knew, or if out of the injury and year of therapy, a whole new fighter with a completely different demeanor.
What will a recovered Silva
look like as a fighter?
The Return: Silva vs. Diaz
This past July it was announced that Silva will fight the love-em-or-hate-em, Nick Diaz, who has just recently moved to the middleweight division after years in the welterweight class.
UFC’s President, Dana White, went to ESPN’s SportsCenter to make the announcement that set MMA fans afire. Like Silva, Diaz has lost his last two fights. He retired in March 2013, after a decision loss to the Canadian great, George Saint-Pierre.
If Diaz beats Silva, the veteran could receive another shot at a title fight and revitalized career. In other words, both have a lot on the line.
The two will return to the UFC® for the five-round main event of UFC® 183 on Jan. 31.
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