UFC 165 featured two highly entertaining title fights : one being the light heavyweight showdown between Jon Jones and Alex Gustafsson, the other featuring Eddie Wineland and Renan Barao at 135 lbs. While both Jones and Barao retained their respective belts, the fashion in which they earned their victories are as different as night and day. A close contest saw Jon Jones pull off a unanimous decision victory, albeit swollen all over and sent to the hospital on a stretcher. Barao, however, made it a quick night with another showtime finish against game but otherwise very one-dimensional contender in Eddie Wineland.
I hate you. I hate the way you make me feel. I hate the things you make me do. I’m tired of the sleepless nights and bouts of sadness.
But, I have to accept the fact that I am absolutely crazy about you, that the rush when I’m with yoy compares to nothing else. I have to accept that I love you so much, too much that it kills me.
-my feelings towards sports
Yep, 3 days’ worth of sunlight is on my jacket. #OOTD
Saturday’s shocking upset saw pound-for-pound kingpin Anderson Silva stripped of his belt. What was more shocking, perhaps, was that he was knocked out cold en route to a 2nd-round KO in the hands of #1 contender and now-middleweight champion Chris Weidman. What is more shocking still, if you could believe it, is that Anderson Silva practically staged the loss by showboating against such a formidable contender.
Don’t fix what ain’t broke, hey? He got away with all the careless, unnecessary taunting against previous title contenders like Demian Maia, Vitor Belfort and Yushin Okami, and battle-tested opponents in Stephan Bonnar and Forrest Griffin. His in-octagon antics were polarizing - annoying to some and endearing to many others - but entirely harmless. He was good- check that, great - enough to earn one thrilling victory after another with his hands down, chin up and body basically offered up to the opponent in a “Give me your best shot” stance. It didn’t help Silva one bit that his opponents were chumps, totally a class or two beneath him, as was the case in the weak middleweight field.
Such was Anderson’s belief in his skills and how everyone else paled in comparison against him that he basically looked past the challenge in Weidman even before the Octagon closed in on both of them. Weidman may only be as good a wrestler as Chael Sonnen, whom Silva beat twice : once in desperation, another in a more convincing fashion. But, what Sonnen sorely lacked, Weidman possesses and wields quite naturally. He is heavy-handed, even heavy-elbowed as proven by the KO victory against Mark Munoz. He can submit people. He is athletic and built for strength. He is a young gun with fresh legs, whose confidence rides on an unblemished 9-win UFC record.
Silva failed to frustrate Weidman, who kept a level head amidst Silva’s taunts. Silva danced and pranced, offered numerous body parts and screamed at Weidman to hit him there. There was even a time near the end of the fight when Silva ate a shot and pretended to swoon. Little did he know that it was a matter of time before Weidman catches that bobblehead movement of his. In one of those lean-back, turn-head sequences we have come to know Silva for, Weidman’s fist finally hit home. What happened next was a surreal sight : Silva’s eyes rolled back, his body falling limp where he stood. Three shots rained from above and Silva was done for the night.
Or, worse, for the rest of his UFC career.
People would argue that Weidman won with a lucky shot, the way Junior Dos Santos shocked the world by knocking out Cain Velasquez. Others would say that Weidman would never have stood a chance, had Silva taken the horseplay down a notch and his unparalleled skills up one. But, more than showing disrespect to his opponent, the most frustrating about all this is how Anderson Silva, through a show of utter stupidity and carelessness, unwittingly disrespected himself and the legacy he built for years.
Now, he has only the whole world’s ire to gain out of it : from disappointed fans and, more importantly, from Dana White himself. The megafight rumors surrounding the two remaining champions GSP and Jon Jones, both of which Anderson Silva remained the center of until his untimely defeat last Sunday, are gone with the wind. His aura of invincibility and good rep, all thrown out the window because he refused to take Weidman seriously. Only time will tell if the damage and the lost opportunities can ever be repaired and brought back to the drawing table once again.
Months from now, we’d all look back and ask ourselves if Silva really had to fight the way he did. If he came into the fight wanting to get out of his responsibilities as a champion, was it wise to make play of it and end an illustrious career on such an embarrassing and disappointing note? Didn’t it make more sense to come out with his long limbs swinging, whether it be a victory or defeat that becomes his end?
Scariest question of all : Is this the last we see of Anderson Silva, the greatest MMA fighter of all time?
As Silva’s Nike walkout shirt would say, Anderson Knows.
Only Anderson knows.
Shrimp in Marinara Sauce for lunch. Happy Monday! :-)