"The Spider" Anderson Silva began to spin his web of deceit at UFC 162 in the opening minutes. It looked as if Silva was ready to put on another performance in evasion and counter striking much like he had done in his previous outings.
Only this time his opponent, Chris Weidman, didn't fall into the trap. Rather than rushing straight in as so many have done before him, the Serra-Longo product kept a cool head and slowly worked his way into striking range. It wasn't flashy (a back hand slap as a setup?), but it worked.
With one punch Weidman sent not only the UFC middleweight champion crashing down, he sent perhaps the greatest MMA fighter to compete back to the realm of mortals.
For years Silva seemed like a God among men. His ability to lean away from punches and provide crisp, accurate, devastating counter punches seemed unreal. We've seen professional boxers be able to utilize the lean as part of their defensive skill set but never have we seen a guy manage to evade strikes like Silva did.
The Brazilian seemed primed for another highlight reel finish as he began to taunt Weidman at UFC 162. For a moment it seemed as if the trap had been sprung perfectly. Weidman abandoned his ground game in the second round and instead chose to fight "The Spider" exactly where Silva wanted to be; on the feet.
This time, Silva fell into his own trap.
Weidman, with only nine professional fights under his belt prior to UFC 162 and being out of action for nearly a year, ended the reign of "The Spider" at 185 pounds.
Now that the smoke has cleared and fans are coming to grips with what has to be one of the most shocking losses in MMA history, is it fair to say Weidman's KO over Silva at UFC 162 was the biggest upset in MMA history?
Looking back, the sport has seen the mighty fallen on many occasions. The two fights most fans come up with when thinking of the greatest upsets are Georges St-Pierre vs. Matt Serra at UFC 69 and Fabricio Werdum's submission of Fedor Emelianenko in Strikeforce.
Serra was perhaps the biggest underdog in MMA history as he was awarded a title shot by competing on the UFC's reality show, The Ultimate Fighter. Sporting a meager 9-4 record, Serra didn't have many impressive wins at the time.
And although GSP is one of the most dominant champions in MMA history, he wasn't on the same level as he is now back at UFC 69. St-Pierre was a great fighter but only sported a 14-1 record. He had some impressive victories but many fans were left with a sour taste in their mouth after having to digest his split-decision victory over BJ Penn at UFC 58.
When Emelianenko brought the aura of invincibility to Strikeforce, MMA fans quickly found it to be a bit cracked. It began with Andrei Arlovski putting Emelianenko against the ropes and looking to be on his way to a huge upset. Brett Rogers enjoyed a small measure of success which says a lot given how raw he was in MMA and where his career has gone since then.
In both fights however, Emelianenko was able to escape and take home the victory. Against Werdum, there would be no escape.
Although very few fans gave Werdum any shred of hope, the Brazilian was still considered one of the world's best BJJ practitioners. He'd spent much of his career in flux due to losing a bout every time it seemed he had gotten some momentum.
It only took 69 seconds for Werdum to slap on a triangle choke to force Emelianenko to tap out. It was a rookie mistake by one of the best in the world and gave the Russian his first (legitimate) loss. The win catapulted Werdum up the heavyweight rankings and instantly became 1a. or 1b. for biggest upset in MMA history.
Now we have 1c. Weidman came into UFC 162 having only nine professional bouts and although he enjoyed a decorated grappling career, few fans knew who he was prior to Saturday night. His biggest moment came against Mark Munoz in July of 2012 on FUEL TV. Not only did such few fans get to witness the dominant performance, there were also many people who disregarded the win due to the condition of Munoz.
Prior to the Munoz fight, most fans remembered only a sloppy showing against Demian Maia in Jan. of last year. Granted Weidman took the fight on extremely short notice and endured a tough weight cut, it's something that doesn't always register in fans' minds.
Standing against Weidman was the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world. Silva had completely destroyed and embarrassed the UFC middleweight division since his arrival. He even jumped up a weight class to school a few light heavyweights on just how great he is.
With being a complete unknown and Silva already established as the best fighter in history by many, it's safe to say Weidman's upset definitely belongs in the conversation of biggest upset in MMA history.
Of course, it's subjective and will change from person to person, but I personally believe it was the biggest upset in MMA's history. Everyone knew Serra's best chance for winning was to land a haymaker and Werdum's best chance to win was by his BJJ. Silva appeared to be on a different level than any of his previous opponents and even if you picked Weidman to win, nobody guessed Weidman would do it via knockout on the feet.
I'm sure many will disagree and discredit Weidman's victory because Silva "didn't care" or was simply caught clowning around. But how many times have we seen Silva use this tactic and deliver a highlight reel finish? Weidman not only took on the world's best fighter, but he beat him at his own game.