Chris Weidman has managed to twice accomplish something no other fighter in UFC history has ever accomplished: He defeated Anderson Silva.
The UFC middleweight champ shocked the world back in July by knocking out Silva in devastating fashion and winning the title. Despite all of the pre-fight hype and praise Weidman received from MMA experts, people generally weren’t convinced Weidman was actually a better fighter than Silva.
The MMA community harped on Silva’s “clown-like” antics of fighting with his hands down as the primary culprit of his undoing. It wasn’t as much about the things Weidman did right as it was the things Silva did wrong.
If given another opportunity, a serious and more focused Silva would annihilate Weidman, or at least that was the general perception.
At UFC 168, Weidman did the impossible once again and defeated Silva in devastating fashion. Silva, who had been successful throwing leg kicks in the first bout, attempted a similar tactic in the second round of the rematch.
But Weidman came prepared this time around.
During the post-fight press conference, Weidman admitted he had trained extensively on checking leg kicks in camp. All of the hard work and preparation paid off, as it led to Weidman’s second consecutive TKO victory over Silva this year.
Unfortunately, Silva’s leg was severely damaged in the process. After going shin to knee with Weidman on a left leg kick, Silva immediately dropped to the canvas, cradling the lower half of his leg and screaming out in agony.
According to a statement released by Zuffa on Sunday, Silva suffered a broken tibia and fibula.
While Weidman has a heavy heart for Silva, he is also happy about finally getting an opportunity to move on to his next opponent, Vitor Belfort:
I’ve never broke a guy’s leg, and I didn’t want to see Anderson Silva get hurt like that, Weidman said at the post-fight presser. … [Vitor Belfort] is a completely different fighter than Anderson Silva. He’s very explosive, strong, very experienced, good on the ground and on the feet. He’s going to be a great challenge for me, and I’m excited for that fight.
Belfort, who also attended the press conference, was given the floor by UFC President Dana White to give his early thoughts on the matchup: "I want to thank Chris Weidman for accepting my challenge, and I just want to say that I’m ready to go back to the gym Monday. Congratulations to you guys, and I’m looking forward to my next challenge."
Belfort has a hot hand right now with spectacular knockout wins over Michael Bisping, Luke Rockhold and Dan Henderson.
In 2014, the world will look on with great anticipation to see if "The Phenom" can succeed where Silva failed and hand Weidman his first loss.