Anderson Silva’s reign of dominance has finally come to an end, according to Cesar Gracie.
Like the rest of us, Gracie watched in awe as Chris Weidman knocked out the top pound-for-pound fighter in the world and ended his nearly seven-year UFC title run. The shock in the aftermath of the bout has prompted a variety of different excuses for Silva’s loss.
Many believe Silva cost himself the fight by dropping his hands and attempting to “clown" his opponent. Some have even gone off the deep end in tinfoil-cap wearing conspiracy theories claiming that the fight was fixed.
For a small minority, including Gracie, there isn’t any complicated answer to why Silva’s hand wasn’t raised at the end of the UFC 162 main event.
Silva was simply defeated by a better fighter. Having scouted the likes of Nick Diaz, Jake Shields, Gilbert Melendez and Nate Diaz, Gracie knows a thing or two about talent.
During an appearance on BJPenn.com Radio, he equated the UFC 162 title bout to a legend passing on the torch to a younger, hungrier fighter:
I really think it’s like a passing of the torch. I really do. Weidman is a really tough guy. He’s got all kinds of skills. Good jiu-jitsu guy, credible wrestler, and hits really hard, good standup. Anderson Silva is one of the most technical guys to ever fight in the UFC, but let’s face it, he’s getting close to 40-years-old. He doesn’t have the chin that he use to. He thinks he can get away with the games he played, but you get an aggressive guy on him that’s going to hit him hard, he’s gonna go down, and that’s what happened.
While Weidman has proven himself as the UFC’s newest star, Gracie doesn’t think it’s impossible for Silva to recapture the middleweight title.
Silva finally showed he was human in the loss to Weidman, but even in mortal form, the former pound-for-pound kingpin remains in the conversation as arguably the best fighter in the world. It would be ludicrous to completely count him out in the rematch, which has already been scheduled for December 28.
Gracie believes anything can happen, but overall, he thinks Silva’s best days are behind him. Weidman isn’t the first fighter to defeat Silva, and according to Gracie, he won’t be the last:
It is possible for him to win this rematch. But all-in-all we’re gonna see him start losing fights I think, and start to be a lot more human than he has been in the past.
Are the curtains finally closing on the 38-year-old legend’s career, or is Gracie making a huge mistake in underestimating perhaps the greatest combat athlete this generation has ever seen?
Jordy McElroy is a Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report. He is also the MMAwriter for Rocktagon Worldwide.