The P4P king, the greatest of all time, the longest reigning UFC Champion, Anderson Silva, has tasted defeat for the first time since he entered the UFC. It’s been less than 24 hours since UFC 162 concluded, so it’s safe to assume that the collective MMA populace are still picking their jaws off of the floor. Chris Weidman, on paper, had all the tools he needed to defeat Anderson Silva so it shouldn’t have come as too great a surprise when his hand was raised in the end, right? Well, considering just how Chris Weidman secured the win, I would be damn surprised to hear that anyone wasn’t completely shocked at how it all went down, even if you picked Weidman to get the “W”.
The first half of the round one went as most would have expected: Weidman took Anderson Silva to the floor in a hurry and threatened with submissions putting the former champ on the defensive. However, Anderson Silva was able to survive and get back to his feet. Despite Weidman’s dominance on the ground, the fight would never hit the floor again. Shockingly, once the fight was relegated to the feet, in Silva’s domain, we saw what would inevitably be Silva’s downfall. While Silva got the better of the striking in the latter half of round one, early on when Silva began his “Matrix dodging” routine Weidman caught Silva flush on the jaw. Silva responded with a smile, shook his head, and continued with business as usual. Although Weidman showed that he was fast enough to tag Silva, it did nothing to deter Silva from keeping his hands low to goad Weidman into a striking match.
This is nothing new. Anderson Silva has done this plenty of times and with great success. The irony here is that while Silva is an expert at making his opponent feel comfortable striking with him, it inevitably was Silva who got far too comfortable with his own striking prowess. Chris Weidman isn’t Stephen Bonnar or Forest Griffin who Silva absolutely embarrassed as they tired desperately to lay a hand on him before Silva unceremoniously dismissed them once he was done playing with his food. Weidman wasn’t memorized by Silva like so many before him, nor was he intimidated. On the contrary, Weidman was extraordinarily confident. He even went as far as to apologize to Dana White ahead of time for ruining his potential “super fights” believing so firmly that he was going to be the one to dethrone Silva.
Round two had shades of Silva’s fight with Demian Maia, where Silva threw very few strikes and was instead content to put himself in dangerous situations in an attempt to frustrate Chris Weidman. Unfortunately for Silva, Weidman was unphased by his antics and landed a crushing left hook to Silva’s jaw that sent him crashing to the canvass. Weidman sealed the deal, drilling a coffin nail to the grounded Anderson Silva; sending Silva’s head bouncing off the canvass and his eyes rolling back into his skull. Herb Dean called a stop to the fight at one minute and eighteen seconds into the second round.
Anderson Silva, like a true champion, was gracious in defeat and seemingly relieved to be rid of his burden and passed the torch as well as the Middleweight title to the undefeated Chris Weidman. Post-fight interviews are never the final word but as for now Silva is disinterested in a rematch, he’s not yet ready to hang it up as he still has many more fights left in him.
I can say, unequivocally, that I never Weidman being able to do with he did. Despite Weidman’s highlight reel knockout of Mark Munoz, I felt that if Weidman were to win it would be due to his superior wrestling and Brazilian Juijitsu, not knocking Anderson Silva out cold.
Silva’s defeat was so sudden, so staggering and so absolute that many MMA fans remain in disbelief. Some fans believe that Anderson Silva threw the fight for one asinine reason or another. While other, more rational, fans want to write off Weidman’s victory as Silva being caught showboating. True, Silva showed a high degree of arrogance and disdain for Weidman’s power, not unlike he did with Thales Leites or Demian Maia, but when’s the last time you’ve seen Silva fight when he’s acted differently?
When it’s all said and done, people can debate until they’re blue in the face and attempt to rationalize what they saw, but at the end of the day Weidman was able to seize the opportunity where so many others had tried, failed and faltered. Many fighters flirt with greatness, never able to truly realize it. That night Chris Weidman touched greatness, on the chin, and laid it out for all the world to see.