Posted 05/08/2014 by McKinley Noble in UFC

UFC Fight Night 40: Erick Silva is Not a Prospect

Erick Silva is everything the UFC wants in a star.

He’s fast, charismatic, explosive, and brings a nasty finishing game to the Octagon that’s tailor-made for nu-metal highlight reels.

Silva’s also one of the most over-hyped athletes in the UFC.

But there’s always cards to fill, and true to the company’s habit, they’ve labeled Silva as some kind of world-beater in one of their toughest divisions.

If anything, Silva’s largely a by-product of the UFC’s marketing muscle, a factor that smart MMA fans will remember going into UFC Fight Night 40 this Saturday. But win or lose, Silva’s downright entertaining to watch, a saving trait that keeps him occupied with main card bouts and not the less-important preliminary filler. If losses to Dong Hyun Kim and ex-UFC title contender Jon Fitch weren’t enough to shake his position, an exciting loss to Matt Brown this weekend won’t either.

However, even the most basic research turns up three things that the common UFC “expert” probably won’t tell you.

Erick Silva in 2011 was a prospect. The Erick Silva competing at UFC Fight Night 40 is a seasoned professional. (Image via @ZProphet_MMA)


Erick Silva has been a pro fighter longer than Matt Brown.

Many UFC experts have been calling Silva one of the best welterweight “prospects” in the game today.

We need to talk about that word.

Erick Silva has actually been a professional fighter since June 4, 2005. That means he debuted four months before Matt Brown, amateur careers notwithstanding. Moreover, Silva is 29 years old; not exactly a spring chicken.

In fact, he’s older than six of the UFC’s current champions, and he’s been fighting longer than every one of them except Aldo and Barao.

  • Erick Silva: 29 years old
  • Cain Velasquez: 31
  • Jon Jones: 26
  • Chris Weidman: 29
  • Johny Hendricks: 30
  • Anthony Pettis: 27
  • Jose Aldo: 27
  • Renan Barao: 27
  • Demetrious Johnson: 27
  • Ronda Rousey: 27

Calling Silva a prospect is outright lazy, but tons of outlets actively lean on that crutch.

MMA Junkie does it. MMA Mania does it. Fox Sports does it. The MMA Corner does it. Even ESPN does it, and Brett Okamoto should really know better.

Maybe “seasoned Brazilian veteran” doesn’t exactly scream TV ratings. Hence, everyone’s going to keep calling Erick Silva a “hot young prospect” until he finally beats a top-ranked fighter. Speaking of which, that brings us to our next point.


Erick Silva has never beaten a Top 15 fighter.

For the most part, the official UFC rankings are a joke, aggregated from terrible voting ballots submitted by people who barely watch the sport.

But one of its most glaring issues is that Erick Silva’s listed as the UFC’s 14th best welterweight.

In seven UFC fights, Silva has never put together a winning streak.

His best victory to date? Charlie Brenneman, who was barely a Top 20 opponent when he lost to Silva in 2012. Even Silva’s last fight against Japanese veteran (and Welterweight King of Pancrase) Takenori Sato was one of the biggest mismatches in UFC history, irresponsibly pitting the world’s 122nd-best welterweight against someone who nearly defeated a former UFC title contender less than two years ago.

If certain UFC rankings panelists did any research, Silva would be fighting for a world ranking rather than the title hunt.

(PS: MMA Owl’s official MMA rankings are way better.)

But, it’s far easier for those panelists to remember the guys who just happen to be fighting in main cards.

To be fair, it’s impossible to forget something like this. (H/T Fightlinker)


Erick Silva’s MMA record is filled with ridiculous mismatches.

For all the differences MMA has apart from boxing, one thing’s remained the same—padded regional records.

Erick Silva’s just as guilty of that as most fighters (current UFC champions included), and when you look at his MMA resume, some glaring issues come to light:

  • Silva’s pre-UFC opponents have a combined 141-85 record.
  • Exactly 45 of those wins/losses come from one fighter, Jose de Ribamar Machado Gomes (34-11).
  • Without Gomes, Silva’s pre-UFC opponents stand at 106-74.
  • Only eight of Silva’s 15 pre-UFC opponents have a winning record.
  • Just over half of those fighters have had more than 10 professional MMA bouts.

That’s not especially bad, either.

As pointed out before, most MMA fighters pad their records on regional turf before hitting the UFC. But Silva isn’t sold as “most” MMA fighters. As far as the UFC’s concerned, he’s the second coming of Christ, an attitude they apply to just about any headlining name needed to move ratings or push PPV numbers.


Sure, Erick Silva’s a great fighter, but as fans, we have to keep things in perspective.

He’s not really young.

He’s actually a seasoned pro.

And sure, he’ll probably beat Brown this weekend.

But Silva hasn’t been a prospect for years.


McKinley Noble is an MMA conspiracy theorist. His work has appeared in NVisionBleacher Report, PC World, Macworld, GamePro, 1UP, MMA Mania and The L.A. Times. Follow him at @KenTheGreat1 on Twitter.

McKinley Noble