Chris Weidman did the unthinkable (for some fans) at UFC 162, knocking out Anderson Silva and stripping ‘The Spider’ of his long-held Middleweight strap. There was doubt left in the minds of many MMA fans; and even the ‘All-American’ fans had sectors of doubters in the outcome of the first fight.
This, of course, is not to take away from Weidman’s achievements at UFC 162, but rather to give an honest interpretation of a bizarre finish to that fight. The rematch, in my opinion, was less controversial. Although it ended with Silva’s injury, Weidman was able to drop him in the first and erased most doubt in a lot of fans' minds.
That being said, I still think I need to see a third match. In my mind, there has only been one convincing fight thus far. This could add to my desire to see Silva compete again; but also I think that a five round fight between Silva and Weidman would be an awesome spectacle.
All of that aside, Chris Weidman could well be building the next GOAT career record. He is currently unbeaten at 11-0 and fresh off beating the pound for pound best fighter on the globe (pre 162/68). Although I’m not as much a fan of Weidman’s, it would be foolish to think that he isn’t on the right path to legendary status.
Considering the top 10 at Middleweight right now, it is clear that Weidman has an opportunity to become one of the most dominant fighters of all time. Now it’s time for speculation; IF Weidman beats Vitor Belfort, Lyoto Machida, Ronaldo Souza and then Michael Bisping or Luke Rockhold. I know this s probably two or more years away from potentially happening, but it is evident that legends like GSP, Silva, Fedor, BJ Penn, Dan Henderson, Lil’ Nog and many more are either retired or fading.
It is time for the next generation of superstars to come up through and run the ranks, whether we believe it yet or not. All of that considered, look back to fighting greats like Randy Couture, Hendo, Penn and many more to consider how many times people have called them ‘done’ or ‘over the hill’. Anything is possible, and beating Weidman just once is not out of the question for Silva.
I’ve followed martial arts/MMA for the most part of my life and one thing I know is to expect the unexpected. That little gem applies inside and outside the cage; just as a fighter never truly knows what will transpire until locked in the cage, neither should we expect to predict it. Just the last twelve months should tell you that.
To argue either way is a foolhardy affair, but to be open to all possibilities is more of a realistic approach. I understand that anything can happen, but I also believe that Silva will beat Weidman in a rematch. Whether that happens or not is up to fate (kinda), but Weidman will still achieve a level of superstardom that Silva never quite reached. In my opinion, it is all a matter of time (quite literally).
Silva started out in the world of MMA when it was more of an underground blood sport. The scope was not there to become a millionaire from fighting in a cage, but it is now. Although the luxury is not available to mid/lower tier scrappers; it is within the grasp of the champion at 185, all he has to do is keep winning. Even if he loses to Silva in a third match, Weidman could well go on to be the next GOAT.
When you look back over all great Champion’s records, there are losses. Fedor lost early in his career, as did Silva, GSP, Penn, Liddell, Couture and countless others. No-one goes there entire career as GOAT in MMA without a loss, not yet anyway. Could Chris Weidman be the first to retire unbeaten as the greatest of all time? I don’t know, but I do believe that he will reach that status in the future, regardless of any losses that might come before that time. I also think that he has the current GOAT to thank for that.
Banner image courtesy of Jayne Kamin-Oncea, USA TODAY Sports