UFC 162: What Went Right for Chris Weidman

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 UFC 162: What Went Right for Chris Weidman
Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Spor

With Chris Weidman’s knock out of Anderson Silva at UFC 162, another great champion was removed from the lofty perch of “unbeatable.”

Over the next few days and weeks, much will be made of this defeat, but in truth, it was inevitable.

Silva has been so dominant for so long that it is no wonder so many fans saw Weidman as nothing more than another speed bump in the road.

But there were signs that this time around, things might be different.

For some time now, Silva has been enjoying a huge psychological advantage over his opponents. With so many devastating finishes in his back pocket, nearly all of his opposition has seemed gun-shy before the fights even began.

He enjoyed the rightful status of being the best striker in the sport—a virtuoso with all eight points of contact.

His Thai clinch was devastating, and his defense seemed light-years beyond the reach of anyone in any division.

His conditioning was never in question, and his poise saw him come from behind to win when he needed to.

But somewhere along the way, we all forgot that Silva is still a mortal man, growing older by the day in a harsh sport.

So, as we process Silva's defeat, no doubt we will allow some bias into our attempt to reconcile what happened.

But in doing so, we should not ignore all the things that went right for the newly minted champion in Weidman.

For starters, he was bringing in a proven strategy—that of a strong takedown game—and had Silva on his back inside of the first minute of the first round.

While Silva would prove much more adept at defending the takedowns as the fight rolled on, the memory of his closest call, against Chael Sonnen, was no doubt in the back of his mind.

Then, there was the poise of Weidman, who simply refused to be dwarfed by the moment. He came out, implemented his game plan to the best of his ability and won the first round without overly exerting himself.

Then, the second round unfolded.

Silva, seemingly needing to gain a psychological advantage over his younger foe, began to taunt, keeping his hands low and daring Weidman to throw, as so many others have.

But this time, Weidman landed flush with a left hand that dropped Silva, and moments later, the bout was over.

Many will say that Silva defeated Silva, and they have some basis for their argument.

But it was Weidman who stayed measured—fully believing in his abilities—and landed the shot that felled the giant. Many others have faced Silva in that exact situation, falling short for any number of reasons.

They were engaging the greatest stand-up fighter in the history of MMA, in his world.

They were afraid of being countered to death like so many others.

They were afraid of being humiliated.

Or, perhaps, it was simply that a challenger cannot conqueror two opponents at once—a legend as one opponent, a great fighter as another.

Weidman didn’t fight like a man seeing double; he looked as if he knew he was fighting a great fighter who was also just a man.

Of course, the real questions will be answered in the rematch, should Silva decided to call in that marker.

If he does, no doubt we will see Silva more focused and precise, keeping his hands up and his chin out of range as best he can.

In the meantime, we can still appreciate all that Silva has accomplished while celebrating the emergence of a new champion. With his victory, Weidman proved once again that in a sport as dynamic as MMA, nothing can be taken for granted.

And that is really why we watch in the first place.

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