The 170-pound kingpin is one of few fighters whose accomplishments in the Octagon are even comparable to Silva's. He's notched 18 victories in the UFC, more than Silva's 16. His streak eight consecutive title defenses is just two away from tying "The Spider" for the most defenses in UFC history.
While we can sit and argue where they stand on the pound-for-pound rankings, the point is that St-Pierre's reign as champion is comparable to Silva's—which means a lot.
However, GSP didn't become the dominant champion without sharing an experience that he and Silva now have in common. Both were TKO'd in shocking fashion by a heavy underdog.
Before St-Pierre's current dominance of the title, he was a 13-1 champion coming off of a convincing knockout victory over Matt Hughes, the only man who had ever defeated him. You can't quite compare that St-Pierre to the pre-Chris Weidman Anderson Silva, but with wins over B.J. Penn, Hughes, Sean Sherk and Frank Trigg, he had done a lot to build his own aura of invincibility.
Then he fought Matt Serra.
Sporting a record of just 9-4 and earning his title shot by virtue of a split decision victory over Chris Lytle to win Season 4 of The Ultimate Fighter, the prospect of him getting a shot at the welterweight champion is laughable in retrospect.
But he shocked the world when he knocked out St-Pierre at the 3:25 mark of the first round.
It still stands as one of the greatest upsets in UFC history.
Like a true champion, GSP allowed the loss to humble him and has since gone on a tear that is only equaled by Silva's middleweight title run. He has since won 11 consecutive bouts, rarely even losing a round.
However, it took some adjustment's on St-Pierre's part. Before the loss to Serra, nine of GSP's 13 wins had come by way of either TKO or submission. He was more than willing to show off his dynamic striking to knock opponents out.
After the loss to Serra, he became a much more safe fighter, sacrificing some of his entertainment value for near invincibility. Just three of his 11 wins since the loss to Serra have been finishes, with eight wins coming by decision.
Now Silva is faced with a similar situation. His aura of invincibility was wiped away by a nicely timed combination from the hands of Weidman. It's unreasonable to expect Silva to become a super-safe machine like St-Pierre. That will never be his game.
Silva will always have to force opponents to engage so that he has opening for his precision counter-striking. But the rematch with Weidman will offer him the opportunity to showcase a new sense of focus and urgency.
We'll either see Silva adjust his style, humbled by his loss to Weidman and prepared to take back his title for another lengthy reign, or we'll see that Weidman's victory was not just lightning in a bottle.