The greatest, and his toughest challenge

December 31st, 2004. That was the last day Anderson Silva tasted legitimate defeat in mixed martial arts (Yushin Okami rolled over and played dead after an illegal upkick by Anderson to earn a disqualification “win” a year later). Between that time and today, the greatest mixed martial artist to compete in combat sports thus far has gone up against a wide range of foes.
Rich Franklin was the champion of the world, and looked to be “the man” in the UFC’s middleweight division for some time to come. Silva blasted him with knees and punches in one round (then waited until the second in a rematch). Travis Lutter came off an impressive performance in the Ultimate Fighter season 4 version, and had the grappling game which had given Anderson fits in the past. “The Spider” beat him at his own game, and submitted him in the second. Guys like Nate Marquardt, Dan Henderson, Vitor Belfort, and Yushin Okami each presented a certain set of skills that some thought could derail the champs record breaking run. None made it past the second bell. Chael Sonnen was able to take Anderson in to deep waters in their first bout, but he couldn’t hold the lead. The second bout was a bit like the first, but it played out a bit quicker.
Each of these men had attributes that could theoretically give Anderson issues. However, each man’s strengths didn’t necessarily cover up his weaknesses. The ones with great jiu-jitsu didn’t have good wrestling to back it up. The ones with powerful striking tend to get sloppy, and don’t usually have the best fitness levels for long fights. The one that possessed great wrestling has some of the worst submission defense for a title challenger in UFC history. The men had their faults, and the Sugar Ray Robinson of mma exposed every one of ’em. The problem for the champion is no faults have been exposed on Weidman.
Chris Weidman has been lauded as a prodigy of fighting even before his career began in 2009. After finishing his collegiate wrestling career as a four time All-American (twice in Junior College, twice at Hofstra), Chris began training in jiu-jitsu while acting as a wrestling coach at Matt Serra’s Long Island gym. Three months later he had submitted every single person he went up against in two divisions at the East Coast Grappler’s Quest competition. After that Chris continued to compete on the USA senior wrestling circuit, and tried to earn a spot on the international team. He was never able to make that leap, but his dabbling in bjj would pay off down the line.
Roughly a year and a half after win at Grappler’s Quest, Weidman qualified for the Abu Dhabi Combat Club Submission Wrestling Championship (ADCC). Some hype traveled with the grappling savant as he had only about 8 months of full jiu-jitsu training before qualifying for a tournament that saw the best submission artists in the world compete. However, his legend grew after he took on Andre Galvao in the second round. After taking apart Daniel Tabara in the first round in the 88 kilograms division Chris took on the favorite in his weight class, Galvao. Just seconds into the bout, Galvao locked up a deep Omoplata on Weidman, which he used to roll backwards, take Weidman’s back, and nearly armbar him. From there, the Chris attacked Galvao with brilliant throws from the clinch before the points period, which against most other grapplers in the world, would have landed him in dominant position. Weidman’s potent base allowed him to shut down Galvao’s deep half guard game, as well as allowing him to attack with submissions of his own. Rather than play the passive points game that many wrestling converts do at ADCC, Weidman trapped Galvao with both a Brabo choke and a Peruvian necktie, forcing the multiple-time bjj world champion to work far harder than was anticipated. Galvao eventually used his savvy to score during the points period, passing guard and earning a 4-0 points victory.
Weidman had arrived, and the fact that he was planning on a mma career was music to the ears of people who follow the sport closely. Then Ray Longo dropped the bombshell that Chris was progressing in striking just as fast as he had come along with jiu-jitsu. Suddenly, the word “prospect” seemed too small for Chris. He had years of wrestling that led to a 3rd place finish his Senior year in college. He has multiple appearances in ADCC when most bjj neophytes are still competing at the purple belt level in regional competitions. His striking has led to knockdowns or knockouts of half of the people he’s been in the cage with. Basically, he’s BJ Penn with the work ethic of an All-American wrestler.
A lot of people still want to doubt Chris’s accomplishments in fighting going into his match with Anderson. “He’s only had 5 fights inside the UFC”, “He looked like crap against Maia”, and the newest “He looked great against Munoz, but Mark was obviously injured”. Each of those things is easily explainable; Lesser prospects have had less fights before a title shot in the UFC, and injuries happened to fighters for Chris to get that spot (that would have been simple match ups for Anderson anyway). Weidman dropped 30 lbs in 11 days to fight Maia, after receiving the match up on short notice. Mark has had many injuries, but he said multiple times in interviews before his fight with Chris that he was at full strength. If he did have a foot injury, its quite possible that Weidman bullying him around the ring aggravated it into being something much worse. However, none of of that is of any matter. What has happened in his career so far is just warm-up, Chris’s best still hasn’t been seen yet.
Anderson has always received comparisons to the great boxer Roy Jones Jr. in his career, because of each’s mixture of speed/power/accuracy (Anderson has called him out for a boxing match at multiple points in his career including this week). The comparison could be ominous for Saturday. RJJ lost for the first time in his career after rising some 20+ lbs to take apart the unheralded John Ruiz in 2003. Anderson’s last fight took place 20 lbs above his weight class against Stephan Bonnar at UFC 153. Roy was 36 at the time. Anderson Silva is 38 years young. The years have been kind to him in terms of physical ability, and his work ethic is renowned for its discipline. However, age catches everybody at some point and when it does it strikes quick.
I have picked against Anderson 3 times in his UFC career. Twice were matches against Rich Franklin (the second was more a product of fandom as I admitted to most people I talked to that Anderson would probably beat him again). The other was Anderson’s second match up with Chael Sonnen. After the second match up with Chael where Anderson figured out his enhanced foe a bit earlier than their first match, I said to myself I wouldn’t be picking against Anderson again. Chris is putting that proclamation to the test. 
  • the way weidman show his credentials as a fighter, he will surely derail anderson silva, surely whip his aSSS, there's no competition in this bout, silva may be the best today but his way up in his prime so he's going down, he just got lucky in belfort, chael sonnen and travis lutter.

    • Meth: Not even once.

    • lucky? damn, anderson should purchase a lottery ticket

    • Not really what I was going for.

  • I've had enough of this non-sense. I could not disagree more with the headline or article. Weidman is NOT Silva's " toughest challenge " they have not fought yet and Weidman has NOT beaten a legit top 10 fighter outside of Maia. Munoz fight was a joke, Munoz was another guy the media and UFC built up that is not top 10. So don't talk about his victory over Munoz being that big of a win.

    Munoz makes a lot of mistakes in his fights, still puts himself at risk for chokes when he shoots his double. Back to Weidman, you guys act like this guy has never been unsuccessful on a takedown or that nobody has ever made it out of round 1. The article should read —— Silva – Weidman's toughest challenge.

    I've never seen the media and public so fooled before – shows you most people are sheep and parrots. Weidman's highlights and the way UFC is promoting the fight is by having top fighters testify to the gospel of Weidman. He's a great young fighter – He gets more hype than Glover Texiera who by the way has a 20 fight win streak, destroys opposition. It's crazy to me. I like Weidman, but let's be more realistic.

    • People aren't going off Weidman's highlight reel, they are going off the potential that the majority of the MMA world sees in him.

      Even more than that, if someone like GSP who has trained with him is saying he is the best middleweight in the world, I tend to believe Weidman is a lot better than what we've seen.

      • Potential does not win fights…. Until it's proven in the octagon all that extra chatter is for the birds. There are plenty of fighters that KILL it in the gym and don't deliver in the octagon. I believe Weidman is very VERY overhyped!

    • Fooled by Rogan's exaggerations. The same was said when Silva fought Vitor, or Griffin, or Sonnen. I'm not quite a Silva fan, and I hope Weidman does good. You wouldn't be on the UFC fighting for the belt with luck alone, Chris' credentials are impressive, very impressive, but this hype is way too much. Same as the last fighter Anderson destroyed.

      • Has nothing to do with Rogan akieyugames. I've been on the Weidman train since 2009.

        The same was said by some for Vitor and Sonnen. However, I was not one of them. As the article points out I picked none of them to beat Anderson outside of Sonnen in the second fight.

    • Some things:

      Hi, I'm Evan. I've stayed away from your ignorance the last month or two because I'm too busy to kill the stupidity this site likes to breed every once in a while. However, I'll make an exception for you.

      "they have not fought yet and Weidman has NOT beaten a legit top 10 fighter outside of Maia. Munoz fight was a joke, Munoz was another guy the media and UFC built up that is not top 10. So don't talk about his victory over Munoz being that big of a win."

      Got it, Munoz was never a top ten fighter. It didn't matter that has a win over Maia, and was being pushed as the #1 contender with a win over Weidman. That must have never happened.

      "Munoz makes a lot of mistakes in his fights, still puts himself at risk for chokes when he shoots his double."

      Oh does he? Well OMG, he must be terrible. A lot of fighters make mistakes. Anderson routinely drops his hands. Jones crawls to the middle of the ring. Hendricks shoots too high often on his blast double. Claiming a fighter doing something minor wrong when he's never been caught in it doesn't make you look intelligent, it makes you look like a petty hater.

      "The article should read —— Silva – Weidman's toughest challenge."

      The article starts with "The Greatest…". Calling Silva "The Greatest" kinda implies he's the best that's ever been in MMA. Hell, I even say in the article that he is. Naming an article something along the lines of the greatest fighter in mma's short history being the toughest test to anybody would be moronic. The fact I'm calling him the greatest means he'd be the toughest test for anybody.

      "I've never seen the media and public so fooled before – shows you most people are sheep and parrots."

      Yes, because the media doesn't follow this sport hourly day by day, train daily, and speak with camps as much as possible. They must know nothing.

      "He gets more hype than Glover Texiera who by the way has a 20 fight win streak, destroys opposition"

      Good for Glover. However, he's still yet to face a top ten opponent outside of a past his prime Rampage. But I've actually been following Glover for a long time. However, he's not competing against Anderson SIlva so doing an article on him would make no sense (as does you bringing up his name to try and push your moronic opinion).

      "It's crazy to me. I like Weidman, but let's be more realistic."

      What's crazy to you is logical to intelligent people. What matter to you means little to reality.

      • Don't be so emotional. I know the truth hurts and hey I am sure other writers stink it up once in a while with an article that makes little sense. So keep your head up. I will still support you.

        You sound like a sheep….so BAAAAAAAAAA!

        • Funny, but sad. Run away troll, run away.

          • Are you serious?! C'mon grow up! Learn how to accept criticism and people that don't agree with your article. Accusing of trolling…'re sensitive, I will be more careful not to ruffle your feathers next time.

          • Ruffle all you want, but just be ready for bull s h i t to be called out when its said. You claimed Munoz was never a top tier fighter. That was corrected. You mentioned a fighter in another weight class that still has yet to fight a top ten opponent, that was made fun of. You decided to call out the mma writing community because you're an idiot, that was addressed.

            You can criticize all you wish, but maybe do it in a intelligent way next time and you won't be called out its not hard.

            BTW, yes a troll. When you make a whole bunch of proclamations, then run to bullshit about feelings/blah blah blah because you get called on it; you become a troll. Simple.

          • You didn't correct me on anything, I don't listen to what Dana or media says about where fighter's are ranked. I judge them on what I see, sometimes fighters match up well and knock off a top guy that does not automatically mean they are top ranked. You're below average at best as a writer and your name calling is funny, if you don't want to be called out and beat up on this board think before you type and stop reporting s h I t you read on other sites. You come across as bitter and angry with your responses. Contact GSPs psychologist. It helped him rebound after the matt serra fight.

          • Yes, I did. You believing only what you're ignorant mind wants to believer over people who've been covering this sport for most of their lives isn't an actual point of contention. Its you running away from reality in the same form of a 5 year old sticking their fingers in their ears and screaming "La la la I can't hear you!" at the top of their lungs.

            I might be below average at best for a writer, but I'm still a hell of a lot more intelligent than you (while also following this sport for most of my life). As I said, I don't being mind being called out by anybody with an intelligent opinion. You simply don't have one, and have never made anything close to a logical argument here. You're a running joke at this site.

            I report what I see, and what other qualified professionals write. As I've said I have followed Weidman's career since he was in the NCAA. I've watched him wrestle in person, and have seen his skills in real time.

            Take your own advice; think before you type. You might be actually taken seriously in conversation, rather than just be the guy with the funny SN.

          • Some fighters match up well with other's Munoz beating Maia did not make him top 10 in my opinion and I don't listen to media or UFC on who's are the contenders or " in the mix" I form my own thoughts on what I see.

            You're very below average as a writer, taking offense and calling names won't help you. Stop rewriting s h I t you read on other sites and people will not pile on you for your WEAK comments and postings. I know GSP's psychologist is available if you need some help getting over your hurdles. Hell it worked for GSP after the Serra fight. If I am a troll, not sure what you would be called for BS article's and postings.

          • Oh, basically saying the same thing twice now? C'mon man, I know you're not exactly smart but at least you can realize you're just rambling on over and over about the same thing now.

            The only thing I'll respond to (a second time so try and let this once big guy) is you claiming "I form my own thoughts" (which is what everybody does, its literally impossible not to) isn't some smoking gun in favor of your own logic. Its a cop out by somebody who is presented with evidence in the form of facts and intelligent opinion from multiple sources.

          • Evan – You're a loser that's bashing posters on your article. If you've covered this sport most of your life that's scary. I have no idea what you wrote because you're too long winded. You remind me of an immature 13 year old girl

          • Right, you didn't read it because it was too long. 6 or 7 paragraphs is tough.

            Keep trolling funny SN.

          • And I'm bashing one, you. Try and see the reasoning behind that, before making yourself look even stupider.

          • stupider?!!! No when you write 6-7 paragraphs it's too long.

          • Too long for what? Elementary school?

          • No too long for anything YOU WRITE.

          • Ohhhhhhh. Touche funny SN troll.

          • Can I ref this one….I promise, no late stoppage 8))

          • ahhh nuetralized it, see what I did there? 8P

          • Easy Kim Winslow

  • Stylistically, he's the worst match-up Anderson has ever got.

    Travis Lutter was a similar match up but as things played out, he messed it up for himself and got submitted. I know Weidman isn't going to waste an opportunity by missing weight or something stupid like that.

    Just because I feel he is Anderson's hardest test, doesn't mean Anderson can't go out and wipe the floor with him.

    • "Just because I feel he is Anderson's hardest test, doesn't mean Anderson can't go out and wipe the floor with him."

      The Anderson love on this site makes this point hard to take. As the end of the article points out I'm still not picking against Anderson. No matter how much I respect Weidman's game.

      Lutter is a bit similar but has lesser wrestling and shuts down when things aren't going well. Weidman has yet to do that, and didn't when he was dying of exhaustion against Maia.

      • Can't say it's " love" for Anderson but rather his track record with top contenders. Weidman simply has not faced a top MW yet

        • No its definitely love. Things like good matchup stylistically, and great comparable skillset can't be uttered here without people throwing a fit in defiance claiming Silva as their deity.

          ****, we just went over 2 top 5-10 opponents Weidman beat and you still claim he hasn't faced a top mw.

      • @Evan this sites love for Anderson? I'll think you'll find plenty of haters of his here and since he is my favourite active fighter in the world and the greatest fighter of all time, I'm not likely to even think about picking against him… unless it's Bones Jones.

        I'm a big believer in Weidman and it wouldn't shock me if he takes Anderson down and controls him while beating him up or taking a sub but while that wouldn't shock me, I kind of expect this fight to go down like the Okami fight except maybe a couple of takedowns by Weidman.

        Also Lutter has lesser wrestling but is 10x the BJJ player Weidman is, Lutter is one of the greatest BJJ guys to ever come out of America.

        • He's got a few here Keith, problem is the ones who are all over him are much more vocal (not to mention) outnumber everybody else.

          I don't know where your coming from with Lutter, but that is completely inaccurate. Lutter is a very good bjj player, but he'd barely crack the top ten in just Americans who have competed in the UFC.

          Besides the quote wasn't addressing you approach to the fight. It merely was a good quote on the logical way to approach the situation.

  • Hype goes out the window once the cage door closes. I personally choose to not listen to most of the pre fight talk. We should all just drink beer and hold our tongues till the fight.

  • @ Evan…you said something about the Anderson love on this site…lol. I have a friend, wont mention his screen name here, but I invited him to watch the fight with a bunch of other friends. He wont come because he is gonna be so pissed if Anderson wins again. Guess he dont want us to see the rage. He posts here less often because of the Silva nut huggers, lol.

    I find comedy in people who take being a sport fan to that level, that it digs so deep in to their ego, they may riot a soccer stadium. I am a Silva fan , and hope he wins, but certainly wont be breaking my beer stein should he lose finally.

    Vinny , come watch the fight, its part of the sport, having friends over to chill, win , lose or DQ.

    (wonder if he will see this) lol…

    • Im not the friend he's mentioning, but Infinite is pretty cool 8P
      Did you get tickets?
      I cant go, they said no animals allowed. 8))

      • lol…i just realized you changed it to Animal after that comment a couple months ago. Nah, I dont have tickets, was talking to my friend above at work today, considering GSP / Hendrix fight. Have a lot going on now or I would go to this one, but the 4th is my bday, just bought a new streetbike, and probably not be able to get a holiday weekend off at my work right now anyway. so its ppv.

        • No Way! My birthday is on the 9th.
          You truly are born to be independent
          By the way, what bike did you buy?
          I was a motorcycle mechanic for almost 20 years.

  • Limited edition 2011 Yamaha R1, the limited red and black paint with skulls, new, cause the factory had extras from that year, and that was the exact paint i wanted. found it online in vegas and thought i was gonna buy a used one for 11k, after talking on the phone found out it was new, still in crate, so i was stoked to get 3k off a new one and the exact one i wanted. just got back from a ride to mother road harley in kingman az, let them (they sell and service yamaha also ) do my 600 mile service. another 350 miles and engine break in is done, then i can open her up 🙂 will do my own routine maintenance after this too, worked on 16s in the air force, so i can change my own oil , lol.