So it comes to this — two straight fights without knocking your opponent out and people question your heart and fighting ability. At UFC 97: Redemption Anderson Silva defended his UFC Middleweight strap against Brazilian challenger Thales Leites with many casual fans clamoring for a more exciting performance. What those same fans got instead was Silva setting UFC records for most consecutive wins (9 and counting) and title defenses (5 and counting) with a five round unanimous decision win over Leites. The usually prodding, methodical Silva was his prodding, methodical self throughout the fight as he waited for his challenger to engage and when it rarely came through the first two rounds, Silva took it upon himself to engage in the third round. However, his attempts were made futile as it seemed every time Silva looked to engage, Leites collapsed to the ground unwilling to strike with the No. 1 pound-for-pound fighter in the world. It is evident now that “The Spider” is really his own worst enemy when it comes to entertainment in that he’s so good in the striking game that 95 % of his challengers aren’t willing to stand with him yet still are unable to take the fight to the ground and keep it there. Thus we get performances like those most recent against Patrick Cote and Leites where our champion is left frustrated. If Silva doesn’t face someone who is willing to stand and trade with him, someone who will aggressively take the fight to the champion, then Silva is just going to be his patient, dominating self and those casual fans who don’t appreciate tactical MMA will go home whining. Boo-hoo. Styles make fights and until Joe Silva, Dana White and company present Silva with actual challenges in the form of opponents who are willing to take the fight to him, Silva will continue to cruise. Whether you believe it or not there are plenty of challenges for Silva. At 185 there are guys like Dan Henderson, Nate Marquardt and Wanderlei Silva who would certainly be willing to stand with the champion and take the fight to him. Then there’s 205 where any number of guys would be willing to fight with the 185 lb champ. And let’s not forget perhaps potentially the greatest fight in the history of MMA in a matchup with Georges St-Pierre at 185 or a catchweight of 178 or so. Regardless of what happens Silva remains the most technical and gifted fighter there is in the world and he simply isn’t going to give in to his opponent just so some knuckleheads will stop booing. If you didn’t already know, a win is a win is a win. And that’s all Silva continues to do.