Anderson Silva received his comeuppance at UFC 162. | File Photo: Dave Mandel/Sherdog.com
Times like these make a columnist’s job easy.
After Anderson Silva’s shenanigans led to the end of his middleweight title reign at UFC 162 on Saturday at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, comedic clichés and clever jokes poured out of the mixed martial arts community. When it was all said and done, this particular assignment might have been too simple.
There is no denying Silva ranks among the greatest -- if not the greatest -- to ever compete in MMA. His striking skills are light years ahead of virtually everyone else in the sport, and his Brazilian jiu-jitsu is also superb. To make matters worse for his opponents, his combination of defense, athleticism and balance are something to behold. “The Spider” had been almost flawless since entering the Ultimate Fighting Championship in June 2006.
Silva’s defeat at UFC 162 had nothing to do with his being a little past his prime against a young, hungry challenger. He relinquished his middleweight crown because of a gross error in judgment. Silva took taunting, showboating and trash talking to unprecedented levels. He is no stranger to Sith mind tricks when he fights. He followed a similar pattern of behavior against Thales Leites, Demian Maia, Forrest Griffin, Stephan Bonnar and others. It is difficult not to sit back and think justice was served in the loss to Weidman.
Entering the five-round main event, the “All-American” had to have an idea that Silva might act in such a way, that he could resort to turning his back, pretending to be hurt, daring him to stand and lowering his hands. Others had fallen into Silva’s trap, but Weidman simply stood there and watched. When he did let his hands go, he made sure it mattered. A left hook put the clowning Silva on his back, and Weidman separated him from consciousness with a crushing standing-to-ground right.
Though Silva was gracious in defeat and offered nothing but respect and praise to his conqueror afterward, he deserved to lose his title in the manner in which he did. At some point, he should have stopped all the nonsense, realized a formidable challenger was in front of him and gotten down to business.
Weidman struck for a takedown in the first round, enjoyed some success with his ground-and-pound and even attempted two leg locks, but Silva was never in any real danger.
For a time, it seemed as though “The Spider” had Weidman exactly where he wanted him. He avoided any clean strikes and appeared to be entering that danger zone where he short circuits his foe’s central nervous system. The difference between Weidman and the other men who had tried and failed to solve the Silva riddle was patience. He bided his time while the champion’s act reached new levels of ridiculousness.
Silva had clowned around before and managed to walk away victorious. However, against Weidman, he seemed more interested in hijinks than high kicks, and it cost him. For the first time, he wound up on the wrong side of the highlight reel, instantly becoming the butt of countless jokes. Do not be surprised if “doing the Silva” becomes the next YouTube craze.
It is difficult to say where Silva goes from here, and he was nothing if not vague during his post-fight interview. He indicated he has 10 fights left but showed no interest in a rematch with Weidman. Sometimes, such an embarrassing loss can force an all-time great to reassess his life and career. Hopefully, the 38-year-old Brazilian has learned a valuable lesson: tomfoolery does not pay when fists are flying your way.
Miscellaneous Debris: What becomes of Weidman, the new UFC middleweight champion? Many predicted he would be the one to dethrone Silva, and some believe he will dominate the middleweight division for years to come. However, because of Silva’s antics, the jury remains out on the Serra-Longo Fight Team representative. If “The Spider” changes his mind and pursues a rematch, one has to assume he would approach a second fight differently. Despite Weidman’s considerable abilities, it is not inconceivable to think a motivated and focused Silva could carve through him like a hot knife through butter.
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