COMMENTARY | On July 6, 2013, at UFC 162, Chris Weidman knocked out who many consider to be the greatest mixed martial artist of all-time. The New York native is now the UFC's newest middleweight champion in seven years. Weidman has great shoes to fill, as he attempts to remain champion in a greatly stacked middleweight division.
However, following his performance at UFC 162, many questions still loom over Weidman and his new role as king of the middleweight division.
In the Absence of Anderson Silva's Showboating, Would Weidman Have Won?
During the Silva/Weidman bout, the initial half of the first round saw Weidman take the former champion down. The New York native commenced to ground and pound Silva and even attempted a couple of submissions. However, at the midway point of that same round, the momentum shifted. Weidman appeared bewildered, as Silva had survived the onslaught. As the second half of the first round progressed, Silva mocked and hit Weidman - almost at will.
The beginning of the second round initially mirrored the events of the latter half of the first. Silva mocked and danced in the Octagon, striking Weidman with leg kicks from various angles. Suddenly, the "G.O.A.T" began to heavily showboat and act as if he was hurt.
Then, the former NCAA Division I wrestler threw a combination of punches. Silva, with his hands completely down, was clipped with the last blow - a left hook that put him down. Weidman followed up with a few more strikes, only to have the referee call the bout at one minute, 18 seconds.
Silva, though, has made a career out of psyching out his opponents in the Octagon. The former champion has mocked many of his foes by dancing around, dropping his hands and verbally attacking them while fighting. It was only a matter of time before Silva would miscalculate a well-thrown jab while keeping his hands down, just inches away from his opponent. July 6, 2013 represented the day the "great one" got caught.
To dispel any talk of a fluke, Weidman expressed interest in a rematch with Silva as soon as possible. Following his bout against Silva, the middleweight champion stated:
"I'd rather have a rematch with Anderson Silva. That's the first thing I said to Anderson right after the fight. I said, 'Let's rematch. You got cocky and put your hands down. Let's do it again.'"
Indeed, it would behoove the combatants to meet - at least one more time. Given the momentum shift at the end of the first round, accompanied by Silva's outlandish showboating, Silva/Weidman II is imperative. Weidman would like to prove that his performance at UFC 162 was not a fluke and solidify himself as the middleweight division's legitimate champion. Despite Silva's disinterest in an immediate rematch, according to UFC Presdent Dana White, the Brazilian is eager to face Weidman again.
Does Weidman's Belt Make Him a "Legitimate" Champion?
One of the reasons for which Weidman wishes to fight Silva again lies in his inexperience and record. On his way to face the former middleweight champion for the title, Weidman (10-0) only fought one opponent on the UFC's current top-10 list. Mark Muñoz, who was recently ranked at No. 8 before defeating Tim Boetsch at UFC 162, fell to the current middleweight champion at UFC on Fuel TV 4 on July 11, 2012.
Following his win over Boetsch, Muñoz expressed interest in a shot at the middleweight title. Coincidentally, he would also like to avenge his loss to the man against whom he fought a year ago - the current middleweight champion. At the UFC 162 post-fight press conference, Muñoz stated:
"I just want to say, if Anderson doesn't fight Chris, I would love to step in. This was the real Mark Munoz tonight. When I fought Chris I actually had some adversity fighting him, so I would really love a rematch with him if he (Anderson Silva) doesn't take it."
However, a fight against a currently ranked No. 6 contender in Muñoz would not necessarily legitimize the new champion's standing. If Silva does not wish to cash in his immediate title shot opportunity, former champion Vitor Belfort (No. 2) and MMA journeyman Michael Bisping (No. 4) represent more than viable contenders.
In the end, regardless of whom he fights next, especially if it is against Silva, it is more than critical that Weidman successfully defends his title. If the former NCAA Division I wrestler is able to retain the middleweight title in his first defense, it would calm the clamor regarding Weidman's "fluke" win over Silva. A triumphant title defense would also legitimize his standing among one of the most talented divisions in the UFC.
Clinton Alexander Bullock has been a Brazilian jiu-jitsu practitioner for many years. He has studied mixed martial arts for 12 years and has been published in the Yahoo! News, the Bleacher Report, Philadelphia Sunday Sun Newspaper, and Next Step Magazine. Follow him on MMAUnchained.net,Facebook & Twitter @clintonbullock.
- Sports & Recreation
- Mixed Martial Arts
- Anderson Silva
- Chris Weidman