UFC 162 Results: The Real Winners and Losers from Silva vs. Weidman
Anderson Silva taunted Chris Weidman. Looking to engage the wrestler in a stand up exchange, he went after his pride.
Silva pounded his leg. He dropped his hands, goading Weidman, twice an All-American wrestler at Hofstra, to eschew the takedown and strike with him instead. He stuck out his chin, daring Weidman to hit him.
Eventually, Weidman did.
Silva thought he was the best, that his challenger wasn't on his level.
And that might very well have been true.
But by dropping his hands and doing more dancing than punching, Silva evened the odds. Weidman stepped up and took advantage of his suddenly improved chances, landing a huge left hook that sent the champion's eyes rolling around in his head.
Rudimentary ground and pound sealed the deal, and just like that, an era was over.
Weidman, of course, was the big winner on the night, but he wasn't alone. The evening was full of winners and losers after a great night of fights.
Disagree with my list? Let me know in the comments.
Winner and Loser: Chris Weidman
Poor Chris Weidman.
He just won the UFC middleweight title, becoming the first fighter to beat Anderson Silva in the UFC Octagon. More than that, he knocked the greatest MMA fighter of all-time out cold.
“Weidman played Anderson’s game," long-time Silva foe Chael Sonnen told Fuel TV. "And it was a frustrated Anderson Silva who got beat at his own game. Weidman closed the gaps. There’s a certain level of cockiness he was showing. You can’t be cocky and be arrogant and still protect yourself.”
Though Chael gave Weidman a shout out, the fight world is barely mentioning the new middle champion at all in the aftermath of his monumental win. The narrative is all about Silva and his momentous fall from grace; Weidman is simply the faceless wrestler who gave him a shove off the mountain top.
Perhaps that will change in time, especially if Weidman continues to put on spectacular performances.
For now, though, the story is about Silva's loss.
Loser: Anderson Silva
Anderson Silva was just being Anderson Silva.
How many times have we seen him taunt opponents? Trick men who have no business trading punches with him into doing just that? Talk when he should be punching?
This was no different except in one way—Chris Weidman made him pay the price.
Silva wanted Weidman to charge forward with wild hooks. He wanted him to throw punches with bad intentions. Better that than deal with Weidman's stellar wrestling game.
But Silva expected to be able to handle Weidman's fastball with ease. That's why he felt he could drop his hands, open his mouth and back straight up. Silva is a counter puncher; he was looking for Weidman to throw so he could throw back.
He never expected to get hit.
"I told Anderson after the fight, ‘Let’s rematch. You got cocky and let your hands down.’ He said, ‘You deserve it.’ He was very humble," Weidman told Fuel TV. "You have a certain respect for a guy after the fight. I love the guy. I feel for him, but I’m happy where I’m at. I think he’s an amazing fighter and I’d think he’d want a rematch.”
At the post-fight press conference, Silva denied interest in a return bout with Weidman. Of course, his mind may change with time and distance. He hasn't lost a fight in seven years. He'll need some time to sort it all out.
So will the rest of us.
Winner: Frankie Edgar
Frankie Edgar had won just one of his last five fights. That he's still included on many pundits' top 10 pound-for-pound rankings tells you all you need to know about the enduring legend he's built for himself in the cage.
Against Charles Oliveira, he added to "The Answer" mythology with yet another back-and-forth fight. Oliveira gave Edgar a spirited contest, but Frankie is just a little too good for 95 percent of the world's fighters.
It's that final five percent that have bothered him in recent years—and rightfully exclude him from some pound-for-pound top 10 lists .
Loser: Roger Gracie
The Gracie name comes with plenty of pressure attached. When your grandfather founded Brazilian jiu-jitsu and your mom's cousins founded and starred in the first UFC, you're expected to be good.
Roger Gracie has voluntarily placed all of these expectations on his own two shoulders. His father's last name was Gomes, but he is a Gracie through his mother, Reila. It's a burden Roger has taken on with eyes wide open.
To his benefit, with increased pressure comes great opportunities. The Gracie name opens doors—including the one to the UFC Octagon.
It might have been better left closed.
Gracie had no answer for former U.S. Army Special Forces soldier Tim Kennedy, who wasn't afraid to get inside on the long-armed Gracie and take him to the mat. That was where Gracie should have thrived. Instead, Kennedy neutralized him and won an easy decision.
Some dynasties span several generations, but that may not be the case for the legendary Gracies. Royce may have dominated the UFC in his day, but that day is long past.
Roger, clearly, is no Royce.
Winner: Mark Munoz
Mark Munoz's official injuries after his bout with Chris Weidman last July were described by the state of California as a "left scalp laceration, right eyebrow laceration and potential mandible fracture."
Not listed: broken spirit. That was still to be determined.
But a year on the shelf left many wondering how much fight Munoz would have left in him. He battle depression and a subsequent weight gain that ballooned him to more than 50 pounds over the 185-pound limit.
After all that, defeating top-10 middleweight Tim Boetsch was the easy part. Munoz had already taken on himself—and won. What could "The Barbarian" possibly do to touch him?
Munoz, after a close first round, put a hurting on Boetsch, manhandling him, pounding him and even trying a leaping Kazushi Sakuraba-style diving punch to add insult to injury.
By almost every measure, it was the greatest performance of his career.
There's a long road back to title contention, especially after you fall from grace. But Munoz got a running start against Boetsch. Suddenly, the finish line doesn't seem quite so far away.
Winner: Cub Swanson
Cub Swanson came into this fight with two strikes against him.
One, of course, is the nickname "Cub." It worked for Daigorō Itto, but he was a literal baby. A baby! Not a Lone Wolf and Cub fan? Your loss.
For a 29-year-old man, though? No matter how badly his given name Kevin seems to fit him, "Cub" is a little off-putting.
And then there's the matter of his loss to Jens Pulver.
More than five years ago, a washed up Pulver choked out Swanson in the first round of their 2007 clash. Intellectually, Swanson has come a long way since WEC 31. The submission is an image that has lingered—until tonight, that is.
At UFC 162, Pulver became the past. Swanson's shellacking of Dennis Siver, a featherweight inexplicably built like former heavyweight champ Brock Lesnar, should erase any remaining doubts that Cub is ready for the division's very best.
Loser: Chris Leben
Before Forrest Griffin and Stephan Bonnar stole the show at the finale, the breakout star of the first season of The Ultimate Fighter was actually Chris Leben.
The middleweight became the template for every bad boy to follow, combining copious trash talk with emotional vulnerability and a complete disregard for his own well-being.
It made for one compelling package.
At age 32, however, that act has worn thin. Seven years after welcoming Anderson Silva to the Octagon for the first time, Leben found himself in an unfamiliar place—the prelims. Worse still? Fighting in the prelims and getting beaten to the punch over and over again by cornrowed Andrew Craig.
As B/R MMA deputy editor Brian Oswald wrote me, "Chris Leben is officially done as a fighter who matters." In my opinion, that day came and went several years ago.
With all due respect to Craig, the likely end of Leben's UFC legacy was the real story of this fight.
Winner: Gabriel Gonzaga
At one point, Gabriel Gonzaga sent the UFC's carefully plotted schemes crashing to the mat.
Scratch that—he sent Mirko Cro Cop to the mat with a brutal headkick. The UFC's plans for an epic Randy Couture-Cro Cop heavyweight title fight just happened to go crashing right alongside the Croatian kickboxer.
If that was Gonzaga's apex, his nadir came in April when heavyweight up-and-comer Travis Browne smashed him with elbows. Despite Gonzaga disagreeing with the placement of said elbows, the Brazilian found himself with a title no fighter wants to claim—gatekeeper.
Perhaps that gave Dave Herman some comfort when he saw the hairy beast across the cage from him.
It shouldn't have.
With a single right hand and some elementary ground and pound, Gonzaga scored the fourth fastest knockout in UFC heavyweight history, clocking Herman with a counterpunch just 17 seconds into the fight.
Loser: Cecil Peoples
Someone needs to introduce that man to Edson Barboza.
The Brazilian striker, for the second time in his career, ended a bout using almost nothing but cringe-inducing kicks to the thigh. You know, the kind that make you want to cry just from watching them and throw up a split second later when the sickening sound reaches your ears.
Barboza has everything you need to be a big UFC star with one potentially glaring exception—takedown defense. In boxing they'd build him up for a title shot with a series of foes willing to stand and trade with him. This being the UFC, the Muay Thai specialist will likely be scheduled with seven consecutive wrestlers going forward.
Winner and Loser: Mike Pierce
Mike Pierce had won three in a row and four of five. His only loss in that period was a questionable split decision setback at the hands of perennial contender Josh Koscheck. And, yet, here he was, opening up the Facebook portion of the fight card.
Think the UFC doesn't know how to send a message?
The promotion finds Pierce's grinding style "boring." His placement on the card is a message to him and every other fighter looking to advance.
This is more than sport. It's entertainment. Best remember that if you're a fighter looking for an opportunity.
Pierce must have been paying attention. After spending the first round pressing David Mitchell up against the fence, Pierce unloaded with a left hook in the second to bring his winning streak up to four.
Hopefully his next fight will be on the main card—where he belongs.