If UFC middleweight champion Chris Weidman proves that his epic win over Anderson "The Spider" Silva at UFC 162 was no fluke, the legend needs to retire to prevent himself from further tarnishing his legacy and/or taking unnecessary beatings.
This is meant as no disrespect to Weidman, but if Silva is still blessed with the uncanny instincts, reflexes, striking ability and poise that had him undefeated for 17 straight fights, he should regain his UFC middleweight title Saturday at UFC 168.
Silva's clowning in the first fight probably led to defeat, thus it didn't convince us Weidman was the better man.
As good as the champion is, he's not a better wrestler than Chael Sonnen. He's not a more dangerous striker than Vitor Belfort. Silva has conquered both of those men—even though Sonnen gave him some anxious moments in both of their bouts.
If Silva loses again, it's official. Something has changed.
He is 38 years old. One comeback from a loss this late in his career is difficult enough. Being tasked with coming back again from another crushing defeat would be too much. As remarkable as he's been in his career, the Spider is still human.
Even the future Hall of Famer would have to doubt whether he can still perform at an elite level.
Whether you're a long-time admirer of Silva's talents, a hater or an impartial observer, you have to respect what the man has accomplished. He's 33-5, with only four legit losses. One of the stains on his record is a controversial disqualification against Yushin Okami in 2006. He's since avenged that defeat.
Before the loss to Weidman, Silva had never been defeated in the promotion.
Seeing him fight past his prime would be a shame. Silva has had the type of career that should be remembered more for the spectacular and the victorious moments he's created, not for the heartbreaking losses at the tail end.
It's almost a given; fighters usually fight much longer than they should, but Silva should be one of the few exceptions. There's no way he should toil around the UFC in mediocrity.
The UFC is a better place when he's considered elite. If that's not the case anymore, he should walk away completely.
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