There will always be debate in sport about who is the greatest ever in any discipline. This past weekend there were two men who made the case for being the greatest ever champions in their chosen sport.
Monday, 09 July 2012
Though the worlds of Mixed Martial Arts and Tennis could not be more contrasting they can boast two of the greatest sports personalities in recent memory, Anderson Silva and Roger Federer.
Silva, the reigning Ultimate Fighting Championship middleweight champion, has dominated his division for the past five years and broken almost every UFC record possible. The man known as
"The Spider" holds the record for most knockdowns, most successful title defences and longest UFC winning streak with 14 consecutive victories.
They say the mark of a champion is coming back after adversity. At this past weekend's UFC 148 event in Las Vegas Silva overcame what was considered his toughest challenge to date in his rematch with former Olympic wrestling alternate Chael Sonnen. If you have not seen Anderson Silva in action think Bruce Lee meets Michael Jackson, if at this point you're thinking you have to see it to believe it then do yourself a favour and do just that.
In their first fight Sonnen dominated Silva for over 20 minutes with a mix of wrestling and strikes but Silva was to win via triangle choke in the closing stages of the fifth and final round. What followed was almost two years of trash talking and bad blood in the build up to what was considered the biggest rematch in UFC history. The fight lasted less than 10 minutes as Silva answered his critics and disposed of the challenger in brutal fashion further cementing his legendary status amongst MMA fans and strengthening his place as possibly the greatest Mixed Martial Artist in history. In order to gain a true appreciation of what Silva has achieved I would encourage everyone reading this blog to seek out his fights, you will not be disappointed.
Yesterday Roger Federer also strengthened his case for being considered the greatest men's singles tennis player of all time. The Swiss maestro defeated Scotland's Andy Murray in four sets to claim a record equalling seventh championship at SW19. To put that into perspective he has won more Wimbledon championships than past greats such as Bjorn Borg, John McEnroe and Boris Becker.
In terms of Grand Slam victories Federer is out on his own with seventeen. No other man in the history of the game has won more Grand Slam titles than Roger Federer. That alone should be enough for the Wimbledon champion to be considered not only the greatest of his generation but also in history. Add to that his attitude and the way he carries himself both on and off the court and there are few arguments that could be made otherwise.
Federer has shown he can still compete with the likes of Nadal, Djokovic and Murray and, at 30 years old, you wouldn't beat against him extending that lengthy list of titles by his name.
For all the titles he has won there is one thing that separates Roger Federer from the rest - not one person has a bad word to say about the man.
The fact he is universally liked and admired is possibly the greatest achievement of them all.