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Former Pride middleweight champion Wanderlei Silva to join 2024 UFC Hall of Fame class

One of the most violent and beloved strikers in MMA history will now be immortalized with a rightful place in the UFC Hall of Fame. 

A UFC veteran and long-time Pride champion, Wanderlei Silva’s fighting style was as legendary as his iconic “Axe Murderer” nickname. The 47-year-old Brazilian icon was announced Saturday during the UFC 298 pay-per-view card as the second member of the 2024 UFC Hall of Fame class, joining former lightweight champion Frankie Edgar. 

Silva (35-14-1, 1 NC) will be inducted as the 19th member of the Pioneer Era Wing of the UFC Hall of Fame this summer during the promotion’s annual International Fight Week festivities in Las Vegas. The Pioneer Era category includes fighters who turned professional before Nov. 12, 2000 (when the unified rules were adopted) and who are at least 35 and been retired for one year or more.

“Wanderlei Silva is one of the true pioneers of the sport of MMA,” UFC CEO Dana White said. “Wanderlei was an absolute savage who left his mark by delivering some of the most memorable fights in combat sports history. He had legendary fights against Mirko Cro Crop, Chuck Liddell, Dan Henderson, Brian Stann, and his fights against Rich Franklin, as they were absolute wars! He was also one of the early superstars of PRIDE who helped grow the MMA fanbase on a global scale, and it will be an honor to induct him into the UFC Hall of Fame this summer.”

In 22 years as a professional, Silva fought 51 times and holds Pride records for most wins (22), knockouts (15), knockdowns (18), significant strikes (720), longest undefeated streak (20 fights) and longest title reign (1,939 days). He also holds UFC records for the most knockouts (19) and knockdowns (27) in Zuffa history (including Pride, UFC, WEC and Strikeforce). 

A native of Curitiba, Brazil, Silva turned pro in 1996, two years before making his UFC debut, a 44-second loss to countryman Vitor Belfort at UFC Brazil: Ultimate Brazil in Sao Paulo. But it was in Japan, under the Pride banner, that Silva reached his greatest heights, including a five-year uninterrupted run as middleweight champion. 

Immediately after losing his Pride title to Dan Henderson in 2007, Silva made his long-awaited return to UFC when he co-authored the fight of the year in his debut, a decision loss to Chuck Liddell at UFC 79. Silva’s 2008 first-round finish of Keith Jardine at UFC 84 also earned him knockout of the year.

Silva’s final fight came under the Bellator banner in 2018 when he was stopped by Quinton “Rampage” Jackson in the fourth meeting of their memorable rivalry, which began with a Silva knockout in the 2003 Pride Middleweight Grand Prix. 

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