Chris Weidman is coming off the biggest fight of his career, yet his work is just beginning.
Going against the legendary Anderson Silva at UFC 162, the 29-year-old was at the ultimate proving ground, and he proved himself in a way that no one else over the past seven years had been able to do by beating Silva.
However, instead of answering questions about Weidman's greatness, it has only raised more.
We'll chalk it up to the long shadow of Silva. No matter what transpired in this fight, the man who has a strong case to be called the greatest MMA fighter of all-time was going to be the story.
So, when Silva got caught by a left hook when he was prancing around with his guard down and wound up losing the fight, all the talk centered around Silva losing the fight through his arrogance.
Very little credit is being given to Weidman for the win.
However, as we move away from the shock of Anderson's loss, attention must be turned to Weidman and his merit as champ. And, as Weidman moves his career away from this breakthrough win, he will prove that he is not just the man who caught Silva in a moment of vulnerability, but an outstanding champion who took the torch.
Even as we look at the fight against Silva, Weidman's talent starts to shine through.
Weidman is a fantastic wrestler, and he showed this by coming through on one of his three takedown attempts. After the takedown, he went to work with his ground-and-pound and used all that in an excellent first round.
His effectiveness in this style should be credited for Silva's taunting attempts. He wanted to pull this fight into a stand-up battle.
While Weidman was at a disadvantage in that style, he was no pushover. He landed 37 percent of his strikes (according to fightmetric.com) and of course, he landed the huge blow that no fighter before him had been able to land.
Of course, this is not how the typical fight with the undefeated Weidman will end. He is a wrestling-schooled, jujitsu-trained fighter. His wrestling is elite, and he has the submission game to go with it.
He is far more likely to end a battle with a submission, ground and pound or a decision after controlling the match with his wrestling.
He earned the title fight with wins over Demian Maia and Mark Munoz, and he's proven he's a force to be reckoned with.
Now he will go to work on proving his merit with the massive spotlight that comes with being the man who beat Anderson Silva.
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