COMMENTARY | Chris Weidman brimmed with confidence heading into his UFC 162 bout against Anderson Silva, and he backed up his swagger when the two finally met inside the Octagon, bringing the Brazilian's long reign as the Ultimate Fighting Championship's middleweight champion to an abrupt end.
It was the first time Silva lost a fight while fighting under the UFC's banner, and Weidman did it in brutal fashion, catching Anderson with a hard right that left the Spider dazed while Chris pounded away on the ground, forcing referee Herb Dean to stop the contest 78 seconds into the second round.
Given Silva's many accomplishments inside the Octagon, it wasn't much of a surprise when Ultimate Fighting Championship officials announced that the two men will meet again on Dec. 28 at UFC 168.
Weidman's victory left the MMA world in shock, much like his mentor, Matt Serra, did back in 2007 when he defied the odds at UFC 69, handing Georges St. Pierre, who was a 11:1 favorite, his first --and only --loss via TKO.
Like Weidman, many MMA fans refused to give Serra much credit for the win back then, referring to the looping right hand that wobbled GSP and led to his demise as a lucky punch. When the two met again in 2008, GSP handed Serra a vicious beating, putting on one of the most dominant performances of his career, forcing the TKO stoppage late in the second round of their UFC 83 showdown to the delight of the heavily pro-GSP crowd at the Bell Centre in Montreal, Canada.
Even though Serra's Cinderella story was short lived, "The Terror" is confident Weidman won't go down the same path.
"I've already lived my 'Rocky' movie, so I'm good. But that's the difference. [For] Chris, this is just the beginning," Serra said during an interview with Sherdog Radio Network's 'Rewind show'. "This is going to break out into sequels. This is the beginning of his story. He could be a very dominant champion. He could be one of those guys that go down as one of the greatest."
Weidman is just as confident heading into his rematch against Silva, eager to prove to the MMA community once again that he's indeed the best fighter in the UFC's 185-pound division right now.
"I do want to eventually be known as one of the greatest of all time, but that's not the goal I'm thinking about every day," Weidman told reporters at the UFC World Tour in Los Angeles. "The goal I'm thinking about before I go to bed at night is winning this next fight in spectacular fashion. Just going out there and shinning. I have a lot of doubters, it motivates me. People think the [last] fight was a fluke. "
Even though Silva has been gracious in defeat, he's made it clear he doesn't think Weidman is the better fighter. The former middleweight champ proclaims the loss has revitalized his drive to compete and be the best, and he's told fans on numerous occasions to expect the best Anderson Silva ever at UFC 168.
"Chris is the new champion. People need to respect him. That was Chris Weidman's moment," Silva said during an appearance on the MMA hour. "I working hard for long time. I have my fans, I respect the people. This for me is the big chance to give back to my fans. I try. Chris is a good fighter, but I training hard for the rematch. The new Anderson's coming! … I give Chris back the knockout."
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