Anderson Silva wouldn’t like Chris Weidman when he’s angry.
For months, MMA experts have been lining up to sing Weidman’s praises. During an official promo for UFC 162, lightweight contender Gray Maynard called Weidman “a beast.” Commentator Joe Rogan labeled him as the “perfect fighter to defeat Anderson Silva.” UFC welterweight champ Georges St-Pierre predicted he would be the “next middleweight champion.”
They were all right.
When the spotlight shined brightest, Weidman proved he was a cut above all the rest by dethroning the greatest champion in UFC history, Anderson Silva. Ray Longo, Weidman’s trainer, told Ring Fever he wasn’t the least bit surprised:
“What I love about [Weidman] is that he talks the talk and he walks the walk. I think he backed up everything he said. I think he did it the old-fashioned way—hard work. He wasn’t looking for a TRT exemption. This is a kid who I think stands for the right things. I think that’s what makes the victory special to me is because he really backed up everything he said when people took it as he was kind of cocky.”
The fight looked similar to most of Silva’s other performances.
In an attempt to bait Weidman into keeping the fight standing, Silva dropped his hands and openly taunted him, daring him to continue pushing forward with strikes. We’ve all seen this sequence before. As if caught in a spider’s web, opponents take the bait and opt to stand and trade with the most feared striker in MMA history.
Weidman was no different in that regard. Angered by Silva’s mind games, the young contender chose to keep the fight standing and look for the knockout.
It didn’t take Silva long to realize that while Weidman adopted a similar strategy as past opponents, he could do things they couldn’t.
Weidman challenged the champ on the feet by holding his own in the exchanges. He even dropped his hands at one point to reciprocate some of the mind games.
In the waning moments of the second round, Weidman went for broke and caught Silva mid-taunt with a left hook that sent him crashing to the canvas and closed the curtain on a seven-year UFC title reign.
It has been over a month since the knockout, and the talk around the MMA community has been muddled with excuses and conspiracy theories. A plethora of fans seem to either believe Silva threw the fight purposely or Weidman landed a lucky punch, a pair of common excuses that make absolutely no sense to Longo:
“Any time you have a guy that’s considered unbeatable, the aftermath, especially right after there, people were confused. The Brazilians, they didn’t know what to do. [Silva showboated] with Forrest [Griffin], he did it with [Stephan] Bonnar. Weidman does it, and it’s not acceptable. If he would have missed with that left hook, Silva comes back with a right hand and drops him, he’s a hero. I think anybody who’s in the know doesn’t pay any attention to that. Nobody’s taking that victory away. We all know what happened, and anybody who’s worked out with [Weidman], sparring or wrestling, they know he’s going to do it again. If they motivate him by saying this was a fluke, he might kill a guy, yeah, he’ll hurt him.”
The two middleweights are slated to meet again at UFC 168 on December 28. It will be a historic clash between a motivated Silva and a more confident, equally determined Weidman. There is no such thing as shocking the world twice.
If Weidman defeats Silva again, the MMA world will have no choice but to pay attention.