Anderson Silva Is Getting Old -- MMA Fighting Aging always feels like a difficult subject to broach: We all know we're getting older, but it feels rude to point it out about anyone else. But you can't follow sports and not be acutely aware of how athletes change as they age, and on Saturday night at UFC 117, we were reminded of a simple fact that it had so far been easy to overlook: Anderson Silva is getting old. Although he managed to pull out a submission victory in the fifth round of his fight with Chael Sonnen, Saturday night's fight was by far the worst of Silva's UFC career. When an athlete Silva's age offers up a sub-par performance, it's hard not to conclude that age was a factor. Silva is the oldest champion in any of the seven major weight classes in MMA, and he almost certainly will be for as long as he remains champion. Silva turned 35 in April, making him more than two years older than the next-oldest champion. And for that matter, Sonnen, at 33, is older than all of the fighters who could become a champion later this year. Consider: * UFC heavyweight champion Brock Lesnar is 33, and No. 1 contender Cain Velasquez is 28. * UFC light heavyweight champion Shogun Rua is 28, and No. 1 contender Rashad Evans is 30. * UFC welterweight champion George St. Pierre is 29, and No. 1 contender Josh Koscheck is 32. * UFC lightweight champion Frank Edgar is 28, and No. 1 contender B.J. Penn is 31. * WEC featherweight champion Jose Aldo is 23, and No. 1 contender Manny Gamburyan is 29. * WEC bantamweight champion Dominick Cruz is 24, and No. 1 contender Joseph Benavidez is 26. MMA is a young man's game. Randy Couture may be able to fight at a high level into his 40s, but Couture is an extreme outlier, not a fighter whose career path other fighters can realistically hope to emulate.There are plenty of former MMA champions who already look like they're showing their age and are younger than Silva: Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira is 34. Mike Brown is 34. Fedor Emelianenko is 33. Rampage Jackson is 32. Urijah Faber is 31. Miguel Torres is 29. I'm not the only one who has taken notice of Silva's age. Sergio Non of USA Today pointed out Silva's age in noting that Sonnen managed to hit Silva with the kind of strikes that Silva used to avoid easily, while Silva didn't strike with the same kind of speed that we'd grown accustomed to seeing from him. And Jonathan Snowden of Bloody Elbow made a perceptive comment before the Sonnen fight comparing Silva to Roy Jones Jr., who was seemingly unbeatable in his late 20s and early 30s but has never been the same since turning 35. Silva isn't done yet. He's still the best middleweight in MMA, and I'll pick him to win his next fight whether it's against Sonnen or Vitor Belfort. But age has closed the gap between Anderson Silva and the rest of the middleweight division. It won't be long before he suffers the fate of every elite athlete who sticks around long enough, and loses to a younger opponent.