COMMENTARY | Chris Weidman defeated Anderson Silva via second round knockout to win the UFC middleweight title on Saturday, July 6. The loss ends Silva's nearly seven-year reign as the champion.
Silva's arrogant behavior has finally caught up with him. It was coming, but I didn't think it would take as long as it did to happen. The now former champion has made it a habit to showboat and mock his opponents during his fights, and this time Weidman made him pay for it.
The problem with Silva is that he's always been the better fighter, and he's always known it. Silva has a tendency to take his opponents lightly whenever the UFC puts him up against someone he believes to be inferior competition. I still remember how he treated former middleweight champion Rich Franklin during their rematch at UFC 77: he continually mocked Franklin in his hometown before finally turning it up late in the first round.
Silva continued this behavior against Patrick Cote and Thales Leites. He played with both of them throughout their fights instead of seriously attempting to finish each fighter (although in fairness, Leites often refused to engage).
At UFC 112, Anderson Silva toyed with Demian Maia, which earned him the wrath of many fans who were growing sick of his eagerness to mock other fighters. I remember thinking that sooner or later, someone was going to take advantage of Silva's arrogant behavior. Tonight, we saw Chris Weidman do just that.
Silva has made a habit of getting into his opponents' heads with his antics. Weidman didn't fall for it, though; he fought his kind of fight. He didn't let Silva goad him into becoming overaggressive. Weidman picked his shots, and when Silva dropped his hands, the new champion pounced. Silva willfully gave Weidman an opening, and that's what cost him the belt.
There will be people who argue that Silva's behavior was all part of his gameplan. The former champion actually mentioned it during the post-fight press conference as well. I do believe that there is a lot of truth there, but Silva did more than simply bait Weidman: he disrespected the challenger.
It's one thing to be confident, but it's another to be disrespectful. Silva believed that Weidman couldn't hurt him. He dropped his hands and mocked his opponent. Silva's actions showed that he didn't believe Weidman had the power to knock him out, but he was wrong. Silva proved that even the greatest champion can be beaten when dropping his or her hands.
Anyone can be knocked out by an opponent wearing four-ounce gloves. By putting his hands down, Silva was telling everyone that he believed Weidman didn't have the power or the ability to knock him out. His actions were careless and arrogant, and Weidman made him pay for it.
That said, Silva remains one of the best fighters in MMA history alongside Georges St-Pierre and a handful of others. His seven-year reign atop the middleweight division will probably go unmatched. However, Silva will also be remembered for how he lost his title. No one will forget that his arrogance was his undoing.
Silva's knockout loss to Weidman is a cautionary tale for anyone who simply assumes that winning is a foregone conclusion. Even the greatest champions can fall when they let their guard down.
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