UFC 162 Notebook: Making Sense of the Silva vs. Weidman Madness
LAS VEGAS -- My week-long stay in Vegas had an extra day added to it yesterday, courtesy of a genius decision by someone at United Airlines to overbook my Sunday flight.
All is well that ends well, as the extra time has given me ample opportunity to sit here at my desk, stare out at the strip and wonder exactly what I saw on Saturday night.
I'm still not sure what it was. Weidman's a deserving champion, as Jack Slack so excellently shows in his latest technical piece for Bleacher Report. I think it's just that, while we all knew Silva would not stay undefeated forever, it's still a bit jarring that it came about, at least partially because Silva thought Weidman was not in his league as a fighter and was intently focused on proving it in the cage by embarrassing the Long Island wrestler.
We know now, as does Silva, that Weidman is most definitely deserving. But I've decided that anything short of a five-round decision win for Weidman would have triggered the same internal feelings; that's the only way that the shock of seeing the greatest fighter in history is dulled—by five rounds of relentless and merciless pounding.
I know this to be the case because I remember the feeling in Oakland on a sweltering August night nearly three years ago when Chael Sonnen came within a whisper of dethroning Silva. It seemed inevitable that Silva would lose that night (during the fight), and by the time the fifth round started up, the idea of Silva going down in defeat was no longer shocking. It was inevitable.
Of course, Silva is the one that did the shocking that night. But on Saturday night, that moment belonged to Chris Weidman. He told the world he was going to not just beat Silva but finish him. He did, and that can never be taken away from him.
Check out the rest of my notebook from UFC 162 in the following slides.
Time for Chris Leben to Call It a Career
There was a day when watching Chris Leben fight—even if he wasn't the best fighter in the world—sure was fun.
"His fight style isn't healthy for him, the way that he fights," White said. "He's getting up there in age, and the big layoffs don't help him either.
"I don't know. I've got to figure [out what to do]. I've got to figure out what I think will be best for him, which people hate when I say that and do that."
He lumbers forward and takes punches in order to deliver his own brand of violence. He's always been that way. The only difference now is that Leben is older and the lumbering is a whole lot slower than it used to be, which means that Leben takes even more punches to the head than he used to.
That's no good. And I don't like watching it. And while I hate when White forcibly retires someone before they're ready to walk off into the sunset, I hate watching guys hang around past their expiration date even more.
If Leben isn't already past that point, he's getting dangerously close. I applaud him for a commitment to staying clean and sober. He looks healthier than he's been in years. But that doesn't mean he needs to keep fighting.
Dave Herman Just Doesn't Care
I can't recall a fighter I've ever seen with less interest in actual fighting than Dave Herman.
As he made his way to the cage—to the tune of Frank Sinatra's "High Hopes," a clever play on the fact that he likes to smoke pot and doesn't care if it costs him money or suspensions—Herman didn't just seem impassioned. He looked like he just didn't care.
He wasn't sweaty in the slightest and didn't look as though he'd even spent any time warming up in the backstage area. Then he walked into the cage, was flattened by Gabriel Gonzaga in seconds and walked out, all without ever taking his mouthpiece out.
Herman now has four losses in a row, and the loss to Gonzaga will be his last chance. Thing is, I don't think he even cares.
Kazuki Tokudome: The Toughest Man in All the Land
If the UFC gave out a post-fight award for "best chin," the UFC 162 edition would undoubtedly be handed out to Kazuki Tokudome.
I don't typically enjoy watching a fighter take a ton of punishment without being dropped to the canvas. I know that's the whole point, but when I'm watching something like that, I can't help but think about the future, when all of that punishment and those punches will add up to a man who cannot remember his own name and needs special assistance just for living his life on a daily basis.
I'm not saying Tokudome is headed that direction. But man, he's tough, and tough usually means trouble later in life.