Many were unsure if UFC middleweight champion Chris Weidman would be able to back up his win over Anderson Silva at UFC 162 with a successful title defense at UFC 168, but Weidman reigned supreme once again as he got past "The Spider" at MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.
However, things didn't end as many expected. Weidman earned the victory, but it was only because Silva suffered a horrific leg injury in the second round after Weidman checked his kick.
ESPN's Dan Rafael reacted:
OMG! That was Joe Theisman like. Silva kicked Weidman and snapped his leg. OMG. That was horrifying. #UFC168— Dan Rafael (@danrafaelespn) December 29, 2013
Silva went down immediately, and the fight was over, allowing Weidman to retain his belt.
The undefeated Weidman shocked the MMA world back in July when he knocked Silva out in the second round. Silva had been riding a 17-fight winning streak, but Weidman managed to stop him in his tracks.
That loss caused many to question whether or not the 38-year-old Silva could still get the job done, and those questions are only going to continue now that Silva has dropped consecutive bouts to Weidman.
Although Weidman was 9-0 ahead of his first fight against Silva, it was unknown exactly how good he really was. The 29-year-old star made a big statement at UFC 162, but it can be argued that the statement he made on Dec. 28 was even bigger, considering the fact he proved the first victory over Silva wasn't a fluke by any means.
Weidman is now very much in the conversation for the best pound-for-pound fighter in UFC. He still lacks a great deal of experience since this was only his 11th career fight, but it's difficult to argue with the incredible amount of success he has had thus far.
Some might suggest Silva is washed up, but Weidman should be given full credit for what he has accomplished. Silva was mowing down all of the competition placed in front of him prior to Weidman, but it has become blatantly obvious that Weidman has the Brazilian star's number.
Who should be Weidman's next opponent after beating Silva a second time?
After Weidman's second win over Silva, it will be interesting to see where he goes from here. According to the UFC middleweight rankings, Vitor Belfort, Ronaldo Souza, Lyoto Machida, Michael Bisping and a host of others could potentially be in line for a title shot.
Weidman hasn't faced any of them yet, and all of them could conceivably give him a stiff challenge. Weidman has all the makings of a dominant champion now that he has beaten Silva twice, but he needs to continue backing it up by taking care of business against all comers.
As for Silva, it remains to be seen what direction he will decide to go in. With a career record of 33-6 and 10 UFC Middleweight Championship defenses to his credit, there isn't much left for Silva to prove. He could continue fighting, but he could just as easily walk away at the age of 38 and still be viewed as an all-time great.
If Silva does decide to continue fighting, though, Souza, Machida and Bisping are all possibilities since he hasn't fought any of them yet. He could also make a move to the light heavyweight division, which is something he has done in the past.
Whatever the case, the result of this fight provided some closure within the middleweight division. It is now officially Weidman's time to shine, and his continued development will be an exciting thing to watch moving forward.
Follow @MikeChiari on Twitter