Anderson Silva (nicknamed The Spider) was born on April 14, 1975 in Curitiba, Brazil.
According to an article in Fight! Magazine, Anderson’s poor mother left him and his older brother with her sister’s family in Curitiba, Brazil when he was only four years old. Silva’s aunt and uncle, therefore, found themselves supporting five children on a police officer’s salary.
His family was unable to afford expensive lessons in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu at that time. “When I started out, Jiu-Jitsu was really an elite thing in Brazil, and there was some prejudice towards poorer kids, so I had to learn things on my own,” he told Fight! Magazine. “Some of my neighbors started doing Jiu-Jitsu, so I started watching it, and then started rolling with them. It wasn’t organized training, but it was better than nothing.”
Despite this, Anderson's supportive family did find the money to pay for Tae Kwon Do lessons (age 12). He then moved onto Capoeira before settling on Muay Thai by the age of 16.
Though Anderson Silva indicates that he lost his first bout to Fabricio Marango, this fight does not appear on his official record. Officially, Silva lost his first bout to Luiz Azeredo in a Meca World Vale Tudo event by decision. In his next fight within the same organization, he knocked out Jose Barreto after only 1:06 had gone by in the initial round.
Anderson joined Brazil’s famed Chute Box Academy, the training camp that Wanderlei Silva, amongst many others, had once been a part of. Chute Box had simply been impressed with his raw talent. Along with this, he developed a reasonable ground game while with them and continued on the course to becoming one of the most feared strikers in the game.
Anderson´s MMA career took a nice turn when he won nine straight fights between 2000-03. Along the way, he defeated the well-respected Hayato Sakurai by decision to become the Shooto Middleweight Champion.
He went a mediocre 3-2 while fighting for the PRIDE Fighting Championships. Along the way in 2003, he and Chute Box parted ways over a bitter money argument. Later, Silva heard that Chute Box ordered PRIDE to refrain from giving him any fights or they would pull superstar Wanderlei Silva from their roster. That’s when Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira offered a friendly hand to train with him.
To say that a new and improved Anderson Silva came to the UFC on June 28, 2006, is an understatement. Anderson Silva simply destroyed Chris Leben, a tough fighter, in his UFC debut after only 49 seconds by way of knockout. Then he blew former UFC Middleweight Champion Rich Franklin out of the water with his dangerous Muay Thai clinch after only 2:59 had gone by. Next up, he fought his way back from near defeat against Brazilian Jiu Jitsu ace Travis Lutter, only to end up submitting him. An MMA star was born.