Prior to losing to Weidman via second-round knockout in Saturday's title fight, Silva had won a record-setting 10 consecutive title defenses and 16 fights in the UFC. Now, he's without the title for the first time in seven years.
The obvious fight that the fans want is a rematch with Weidman.
Even though taunting and fighting with his hands down is par for the course with Silva, the fact that he was knocked out with his hands down leads many to believe that things could be different in a rematch.
That very well could be. Silva is still one of the top fighters in the sport. One loss doesn't change that.
However, if Silva's statement in his post-fight interview with Joe Rogan are to be believed, "The Spider" has no plans to rematch Weidman—or even challenge for the belt.
On the surface, turning down a rematch doesn't make a lot of sense. As fans, we'd like to think that the championship belt is what fighters fight for—even if the reality is that money is the ultimate motivator.
For Silva, it's understandable that getting the belt back might not be priority No. 1. He's held the championship for seven years and defended it more than anyone. Coming off that kind of title reign, there's no real purpose to trying to get it back immediately.
If Silva's goals are to retain as much power over his matchmaking while remaining one of the UFC's biggest attractions, he would be wise to avoid the belt.
By granting Weidman a rematch, Silva would lose one of those two valuable assets to the rest of his career.
Should Silva prove that he can come back and beat Weidman with a game plan that includes a little less hands-down taunting, his ability to pursue fights outside of his division will be restricted. After all, Silva didn't want to fight Weidman in the first place.
This is typical Anderson Silva-Ed Soares craziness. Every [expletive] time there's a fight, he wants to fight "Mighty Mouse" Johnson. Then he wants to fight this guy and that guy. It's always the same deal. It always happen. "I absolutely will not fight Chael Sonnen. He doesn't deserve the title." This is what we do.
So if it seemed like Silva was almost relieved that he no longer held the belt after his loss to Weidman, that may be why. He's now much more likely to have his way in negotiating his next opponent.
What should Silva do next?
On the flip side, if Silva fights Weidman again and loses, that would be devastating to his status as one of the UFC's biggest draws.
Regardless of how great a fighter may have been throughout their career, it only take a few losses to lose that drawing power. Even great champions like Matt Hughes and B.J. Penn were no longer great draws by the end of their career after losing multiple fights.
Back-to-back losses against a fighter in Weidman who wasn't exactly a star before his upset victory and Silva's career as a pay-per-view stud would suffer all the more.
At this point, Silva would be better off to take whatever fights he'd like against the likes of Cung Le, Michael Bisping, anyone in the 205-pound weight class or even Roy Jones Jr., but a fight against Weidman would be a lose-lose situation for the 38-year-old.