Whether Chris Weidman wins or not at UFC 168 on December 28th at the MGM Grand Garden Arena, it will be considered a significant foot note in the career of the greatest fighter of all time. Of course if Weidman tears it up over the next few years, (which is very possible) he will start to earn the intense and sometimes derisive attention of fans such as myself, that his opponent Anderson Silva currently holds.
If Silva wins, Lyoto Machida will probably go back to light heavyweight since both him and Silva have stated in the past they won’t fight each other out of friendship. Lately Chael Sonnen’s been talking about returning to the middleweight division but is highly unlikely to earn a shot against a man he’s lost to twice already.
Vitor Belfort also holds a loss to Silva, but he’s been offered the next shot at the title since going 5-0 in the middleweight division, only dropping a loss in-between the streak to current pound-for-pound and light heavyweight champion in Jon Jones, so that’s probably what can be expected to happen next.
Right behind Belfort in the rankings is Ronaldo Souza. He’s ranked at third in the division and may also be a fight or two away from a shot at gold himself. Of course a trilogy match between Silva and Weidman is a possibility as well.
So that sums up the top ranked opponents in the division. The rest on the list either have lost to the men referred to above, or have yet to string enough wins together against quality ranked opponents to be considered a potential threat in the division as of yet. Either way, Silva has his hands full when the cage door shuts in the main event at UFC 168, and it ain’t looking any easier for the greatest fighter of all time if he gets past the first man to finish him inside the Octagon.
Right now everyone’s wondering what The Spider has left. Point of fact: if his loss to Chris Weidman at UFC 162 was a fluke or a definitive passing of the guard in the middleweight division. A lot of different angles have been analyzed since the fight took place. Some say it was a fluke; a simple miscalculation from the former champ on the level of skill in the current number one contender.
Others go even further and believe Silva’s flaw is his inability to take his opponents seriously. What may have been seen as brilliant in the past, has finally been proven to be the exact opposite. Others believe Weidman legitimately defeated Silva when he knocked him out cold in the second round. Dana White has been brilliantly fielding questions about the rematch since the moment UFC 162 ended, by stating that whatever happens at UFC 168, it won’t be the same thing that happened at UFC 162.
Silva was always going to lose, regardless of how or when it happened. That’s just what happens in combat sports, just Google any fighter in the history of humans and fighting. Now Chris Weidman speaks very eloquently about the sport he belongs too, the opponent he took the belt from, and the fans who love him, and even the ones that hate him.
One thing he also does that should start to piss one man off is talk about the legacy of Anderson Silva. He keeps referring to Silva’s legend as something as significant as an ancient artifact. Silva may have beaten every opponent over the last decade that was of any significance in his division, but according to Weidman, it just isn’t something that matters anymore.
Whether Weidman believes in himself or not, he’s got one big fight in front of him before he can really make statements about whether he’s got this one truly in the bag or not. Personally I like to see his confidence. No way has Anderson Silva appreciated this perspective though, and here’s why.
Everyone remembers all the shit Chael Sonnen talked leading up to the first and definitely the second fight against Silva. What people don’t remember is how Silva reacted to opponents in the past that chose to talk a different type of game.
Sure he went off on Sonnen in a phone interview before their second match. But what he really harbors a dislike for is when opponents truly believe they will beat him. The results from the Forrest Griffin fight is a prime example of the type of opponent that triggers perfection in the cage from Silva.
After Anderson Silva halfheartedly defeated Thales Leites and Patrick Cote at UFC 90 and 97 respectively, Griffin was picked by Dana White and the UFC to force Silva in to a memorable fight. Combined with Griffin’s colorful comments about being the first man to defeat Silva in the UFC, what transpired really proved that regardless of Silva’s demeanor, he’s paying attention.
So when Weidman talks about the misconception of Silva’s skill set, he’s overlooking the possibility that what Anderson Silva lacked before their fight in motivation, he now will find an abundance of, going in to UFC 168 on December 28th.