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Wanderlei Silva to be Inducted into UFC Hall of Fame as a Pioneer

LockerRoom Team
18 February 2024

UFC has announced that former PRIDE FC middleweight champion Wanderlei Silva will be honored as part of the 2024 Class of the UFC Hall of Fame in the Pioneer category. The induction ceremony is scheduled to take place this summer in Las Vegas and will be exclusively streamed live on UFC FIGHT PASS.

Recognizing Silva's pivotal role as a trailblazer in the sport of MMA, UFC CEO Dana White praised Silva's contributions to combat sports history. White emphasized Silva's ferocity inside the octagon, highlighting his iconic battles against legendary fighters such as Mirko Cro Cop, Chuck Liddell, and Dan Henderson. Notable among these clashes were Silva's epic encounters with Rich Franklin, which have been etched in the annals of MMA as unforgettable wars.

Silva will join the esteemed ranks of the UFC Hall of Fame as the 19th member of the Pioneer Era Wing. This category honors athletes who made significant contributions to the sport before November 17, 2000, the adoption date of the unified rules of mixed martial arts. Additionally, inductees must meet specific criteria such as a minimum age of 35 or retirement for one year or more.

Throughout his illustrious 22-year professional MMA career, Silva competed in 51 fights, amassing an impressive record of 35 wins, 14 losses, and one draw. Noteworthy victories include triumphs over UFC Hall of Famers Kazushi Sakuraba, Michael Bisping, and Dan Henderson, underscoring Silva's status as a formidable force in the sport.

Silva's journey in MMA began in 1996 with his debut in Brazilian Vale Tudo 6, where he secured a knockout victory in the first round. His early success paved the way for his UFC debut at UFC® BRAZIL: ULTIMATE BRAZIL in 1998, setting the stage for a storied career that spanned multiple promotions and continents.

In PRIDE FC, Silva achieved legendary status, capturing the middleweight championship and defending it four times during a reign that lasted over five years. Notably, Silva emerged victorious in the 2003 PRIDE FC Middleweight Grand Prix, etching his name in history as the first athlete to achieve such a feat.

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Silva's return to the UFC in 2007 marked the beginning of another chapter in his storied career, where he continued to compete against top contenders in the middleweight and light heavyweight divisions. Despite facing formidable opponents, Silva's fearless style and indomitable spirit endeared him to fans worldwide.

With his upcoming induction into the UFC Hall of Fame, Wanderlei Silva's legacy as a pioneer and trailblazer in MMA will be forever enshrined, paying tribute to his remarkable contributions to the sport.

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