The end of an era came on Saturday night as Anderson Silva's seven-year, 16-fight undefeated streak in the Octagon ended with an emphatic thump as he lost the middleweight title to top contender Chris Weidman at UFC 162.
Silva's notorious clowning to get in an opponent's head backfired on the biggest stage possible. He toyed with Weidman throughout the second part of the first round, and he did it again in the second.
Weidman made him pay dearly. He unleashed a quick combination, with one punch stunning Silva, and the next knocking him out.
Following the loss, Silva could only pay respect to Weidman for his work to become champion. He followed with a series of statements that left everyone wondering if this was the last time he would ever step foot in the Octagon.
When pressed by UFC commentator Joe Rogan if he was going to ask for a rematch against Weidman, Silva waved it off saying thanks, but no thanks.
"My legacy for the belt is finished tonight," Silva said in the Octagon at the post-fight press conference.
Maybe it was Silva being cryptic because he just suffered a real loss for the first time in over seven years, but it almost felt like he was relieved to have the pressure of being called the greatest of all time off his shoulders.
So, where does Anderson Silva go from here?
That's a very tough question to answer right now because Silva didn't seem too excited about fighting again, although he insisted when talking after the bout that he wasn't done with MMA just yet.
Silva will likely take an awfully long vacation to ponder what's next and when he may return to action.
In a perfect world, Anderson's next fight would be a rematch against Weidman, as already promised by UFC president Dana White. Maybe a few months off and away from the spotlight will give Silva the space he needs to get his fire back.
If Anderson is really done with the middleweight title, the only other alternatives are spectacle fights just short of what would be referred to as "superfights." There's not much value in Silva taking on Georges St-Pierre or Jon Jones at this point after losing to Weidman, so those are virtually dead in the water.
One bout that may hold interest could happen in November when the UFC returns to England. Silva has long talked about facing top-10 middleweight Michael Bisping, and a fight between those two could still draw an immense crowd.
Considering Bisping's draw in England, it could be the perfect stage for a huge sellout in live attendance and on pay-per-view in the United States.
There is also a very real chance that Silva really does walk away from the sport. He refused to say it on Saturday night, which is usually when fighters make those kind of snap judgments, but Silva stayed consistent insisting he would return.
But with a family at home in Brazil, five children who miss their father and a mountain of money he's made over the years, Silva could very easily call it a career and fade into the shadows.
Damon Martin is a Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report
Like the new article format? Send us feedback!