Anderson Silva – Brazilian, 35, MMA (-)
In 2006, just two fights into his Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) career, Anderson ‘The Spider’ Silva was crowned the UFC’s middleweight champion. Successfully defending his title 11 times since, with a string of highlight reel knockouts, The Spider is the longest running champion in UFC history and arguably the best mixed martial artist (MMA) of all-time.
Having signed a long-term representation contract with high-profile soccer legend Ronaldo's sports marketing agency 9ine in February 2011, Silva's status in his native Brazil skyrocketed following a highly publicised win in theatrical style over celebrity fighter and fellow Brazilian Vitor Belfort at UFC 126.
Now, with the UFC’s aggressive expansion plans focusing on a return to Rio de Janeiro in August, Silva breaks into the rankings as a value-for-money athlete with a golden opportunity to cement his position as a home-grown hero in an enormous market, and a global superstar in a sport that is rapidly becoming one of the industry’s hottest new properties with broadcasters and sponsors alike.