I will freely admit I am still in a bit of shock. I will also admit that on Saturday night I was drinking New Holland's Dragon’s Milk and while it is good for the soul it is not great for winning any contests of cerebral jousting. So it was in the warm sunlight of Sunday morning that I was fairly certain I had watched Anderson Silva get knocked out by Chris Weidman and if that did happen, it would have been of some monumental significance, right?
But it seems that there are some MMA luminaries that feel that either Chris got “lucky” or that Anderson threw the fight. Both of these statements undermine what truly happened on Saturday night. What happened at UFC 162 was quite simply put, HUGE. Anderson Silva had never lost in the UFC, been the champ for 7 years, never had been knocked out, and even in the Chael Sonnen fight – seemed like he had a trick up his sleeve. But Chris Weidman had watched all those fights, probably thousands of times, and knew that Anderson liked to clown around when he felt that his opponent posed no “real” threat to him. Chris also knew that Anderson had already put him in that category and Weidman had decided that Anderson was simply not going to do that to him. The belt was his destiny and to get it he was willing to go through hell and Anderson should be willing to as well.
But isn’t it much cleaner to say that Anderson Silva was clowning around and got caught and lost a fluke fight? Sure, but let’s remember Anderson is really a tale of two Andersons. There is the serial killer Anderson who fights the likes of Rich Franklin, Dan Henderson, Chael Sonnen, and Chris Leben who steps into the Octagon and slays the opponent in devastating fashion. Then, there is the Anderson who doesn’t feel you belong in there with him and he clowns around, taunts, dances, and then when you are not looking ends the fight.
This Anderson Silva showed up to fight Demian Maia, Patrick Cote, Stephan Bonnar, Forrest Griffin, and Thales Leites and we, as a collective, roared in appreciation when he played with his prey and went on screaming in appreciation when he finally had enough and finished the fight. He tended to make these fighters in these fights look dumb. But Saturday night, he was on the receiving end of that joke as Chris Weidman shook the taunting of the 1st round off and went forward continuing to throw his punches until Anderson Silva clowned one time too many and woke up without his belt.
Chris Weidman as a champion really should not be as understated as it is, he is 10-0 (5-0) in the UFC. He has already beaten Mark Munoz who was the other big winner on Saturday night and Demian Maia on his way to this fight. More importantly Chris believed, not unlike Chael Sonnen, that he could beat the immortal Anderson Silva and he knew that if Anderson did not treat him in the same manner he treated Rich Franklin and Dan Henderson that the belt would be his to take – so he took it. Now he needs to defend it to become himself special, but for now he is a part of a very special night.
Is Anderson Silva to blame for his loss? Certainly, but it seems comical that people would cheer that same insane fighting style when it looks like it is out of the Matrix or a Star Wars movie only to turn around and jeer at him when it finally catches up with him. But the fickle fan is what makes up most sports and buys the most tickets + pay-per-views. And while the rumored SuperBowl weekend rematch will do huge numbers – let’s not forget while Chris Weidman beat Anderson Silva he literally killed off all of the big money superfights that everyone wanted to see. Will they still happen? I feel that Jones vs. Silva will but not with the same mythological hyperbole it had last week, champion vs. champion – streak vs. streak. That is another impressive element of what Chris did on Saturday night; on his path to his destiny he reshaped the entire UFC and left me feeling confused about what I had just seen, but interested in a completely different question – What are Johny Hendricks and Alexander Gustaffson thinking right about now?