Anderson Silva's Rematch with Chris Weidman Will Be Toughest Test

Donald WoodFeatured ColumnistJuly 22, 2013

Jul 6, 2013; Las Vegas, NV, USA;  Chris Weidman, blue shorts, defeated Anderson Silva (yellow shorts) in their Middleweight Chamionship Bout in the second round with a TKO at the MGM Grand Garden Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports
Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Spor

When Anderson Silva (33-5) squares off against Chris Weidman (10-0) for the middleweight championship at UFC 168 in Las Vegas on Dec. 28, it will be the toughest fight of Silva’s life.

Silva has been in mental and physical control of every battle that he has faced in the UFC, but Weidman has a confidence coming into the rematch that no fighter has ever possessed against the former champion.

Instead of being chased for the title, Silva will be the challenger for the first time since 2006. That change in strategy and preparation will be tough for a veteran fighter who has become accustomed to his certain style in the UFC.

Silva’s antics in the Octagon helped build the aura around his career, but while they frustrate most fighters, Weidman proved to be unflappable. In the rematch scheduled for later this year, the Brazilian should expect the new champion to be even more focused.

Weidman’s coach, Ray Longo, talked to Shameless Radio (via about the lack of surprise that his fighter won against Silva:

With Weidman, anybody that’s been in the gym with him, or who has sparred with him or rolled with him, I don’t think one guy thought that was an upset.

This kid is for real. I think that’s why the pros were picking him. I think that grapevine was all over the place. The pros have a nice grapevine. I think GSP trained with him a little bit. He was at least in the room with him. Once one guy says one thing, it’s that whole telephone line; it starts going down the line. Anybody that’s trained or been in the room with him, this kid is a beast.

Every champion understands that it’s much harder to defend the title than it is to win it in the first place, and Weidman will be training harder than ever to avoid any hangover from his victory celebration.

That newly inspired commitment from the man who already beat Silva once should have "The Spider" understanding the caliber of competition he will be squaring off against. He has to dig deeper than he has at any point in his career if he wants to come out of this next battle on top.

Silva had won 16 consecutive fights and successfully defended his title 10 times before his loss to Weidman, and the manner in which the champion lost his title—antagonizing the challenger with taunts—has many believing that he was complacent with the championship.

If the Brazilian legend was looking for a reason to fight, Silva will have his honor and legacy on the line along with the middleweight championship in his rematch with Weidman.