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UFC 162: Silva vs. Weidman Aftermath — Human After All

(Photo courtesy of Getty Images.)

By George Shunick

Surreal. That’s a pretty apt description of most Anderson Silva fights, for better or worse. Dodging Forrest Griffin’s strikes like he was in the Matrix, standing on the cage against Stephan Bonnar, front-kicking Vitor Belfort in the face? Surreal. Dancing around Thales Leites and shouting “where’s your jiu-jitsu now, playboy?” at Demian Maia? Surreal.

But those pale in comparison to what happened last night. What happened last night, when Silva lost for the first time in seventeen fights because he pushed the envelope too far, was the definition of surreal. For the sake of trying to comprehend what happened, let’s recapitulate for a moment. The first round saw Chris Weidman, the new middleweight kingpin of the UFC, take Silva down. Faced with the area in which he was most vulnerable, Silva deftly rolled with what ground and pound Weidman offered and defended any submission attempts before getting back to his feet. The rest of the round was spent taunting Weidman and stuffing any attempts at taking the fight to the ground. At the end of the round, Silva inexplicably hugged Weidman before returning to his corner.

When the second round began, Silva was in complete control, mocking Weidman’s attempts to hurt him. It was a performance unlike any other. But Silva strayed too far to the edge; caught with his chin up in the middle of a Weidman combination, he was felled by a left hook. His eyes rolled back; he was out before he hit the ground, where Weidman followed with a salvo of ground and pound that was merely a formality. Somehow, Silva had lost his title even more than Weidman had won it.

Looking at it like that, as a sequence of events, it seems like what happened last night can be condensed into something that resembles a traditional narrative. Anderson Silva was clowning when he shouldn’t have been and paid the price. He shouldn’t have done it in the first place, and that’s why he lost. I’m not so sure it’s that simple. What made Silva great wasn’t just his win streak, it was how he won. How he transcended the bounds of what we thought was possible in combat sports, how his greatest challenge wasn’t the person standing across from him but the shadows of the performances he had to live up to and surpass. Like Icarus, he flew a little too high, strove to be something that no one could be. It turns out that Anderson Silva is not some deity of violence descended from the heavens, that he is prone to the same physical limits and temptations of hubris and grandeur that plague us lesser mortals. But that willingness to push those boundaries, to tempt fate and escape its consequences again and again, is what made Anderson Silva the best fighter in the history of the sport.

As for Weidman, the man has earned his time in the sun. His home was destroyed in Hurricane Sandy, he endured shoulder surgery and went an entire year without fighting. He deserves the money, the $50,000 Knockout of the Night bonus, the fame and the accolades that come with dethroning a legend. Regardless of how much Silva’s approach to the fight impacted the result, Weidman capitalized on an opportunity that no else managed to. There’s something to be said for that. With that said, if there will be an immediate rematch, I wouldn’t favor him. But then again, I was wrong about him last night.

Oh, there were some other fights too. Frankie Edgar and Charles Oliviera put together an entertaining, technical scrap tht shared Fight of the Night honors with Swanson vs. Siver. While there were momentum shifts, Edgar won all three rounds and finally got back on the right side of the win-loss column. Tim Kennedy managed to control Roger Gracie in an uneventful decision win and Mark Muñoz made a triumphant return to the Octagon in thrashing Tim Boetsch over three rounds. And to begin the night, Cub Swanson came back from a first round deficit to knock out Dennis Siver in the third in a contender for fight of the year.

But the story of the night was Silva. It always is when he fights, when he clowns, when he wins. But that’s not how last night unfolded. Anderson Silva was dethroned. It’s funny; when pressed to ask who he wished to fight, Silva would often respond “my clone.” Silva didn’t fight his clone last night, but he still managed to beat himself. I suppose that’s inexorable when you compete against your past accomplishments; sooner or later, you can’t go any higher. Last night, Anderson Silva flew too close to the sun and we were still shocked that he fell. With Silva, the rules seemed like they never applied. When they finally did, that was more surreal than anything else.

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MaritalArtist- July 8, 2013 at 2:09 pm
Mackenho, thanks for that awesome GIF!!
mackenho- July 8, 2013 at 1:14 am
A decent gif of Weidman's head movement - crazy just to say that Silva beat himself -
CheckHisPee- July 8, 2013 at 12:48 am
Holy shit this is really the last one. I'm tired of all the whining about Anderson's huge weight/size advantage. So what if he cuts 30-35 lbs? EVERYONE cuts weight, and as much as they can while still being effective. Just 'cause he can cut more than most and still go 5 strong rounds is no reason to bitch. If someone could cut 100 lbs and make it work it'd still be legal, don't hate the player, hate the game.
CheckHisPee- July 8, 2013 at 12:32 am
Fuck, last thing, wonder if the fact that RJ jr was there had anything to do with the "overclowning"?
CheckHisPee- July 8, 2013 at 12:28 am
Almost forgot, Silva trounces Weidman in the rematch, no clowning.
CheckHisPee- July 8, 2013 at 12:26 am
Sure Anderson flew too close to the Sun, but that's what we (I?) love about him. Having said that, I do think that if he just cranked it up in rd 2, zipping in with fast strikes, counter-striking and defending takedowns, he handles Weidman and we're again talking potential superfight. The only thing that REALLY irked me about all this was how Rogan instantly turned on him and berated him after the fact. After clinging so tightly to/swinging so far from Anderson's nuts for so long, you'd think he might have allowed him a little grace, just sayin.
NuclearSun- July 7, 2013 at 10:50 pm
This just makes that Fedor/Anderson gif more legit!
Limbo Pete- July 7, 2013 at 9:33 pm
Silva has been dancing around like a horses ass for years now and he finally paid the price. Lord Almighty it felt good to watch him go out like that, taunting like a jackass and then dropped to the canvas like a sack of potatoes. I have always had respect for his abilities, but he lost me completely as a fan during the Maia fight. Karma is a reeeeeeeal beotch.
bloodyfart- July 7, 2013 at 7:23 pm
@thumblaster. That may be the one liner that I lead the rest of my life by. I thank you
bloodyfart- July 7, 2013 at 7:21 pm
As long as fedor faught his great fights in japan there will always be a tarnished reputation to them. To me at least. Anderson also beat people in a fashion that fedor couldn't. At least not as regularly
DANAWHITESBFF- July 7, 2013 at 6:48 pm
Sho Nuff- July 7, 2013 at 6:14 pm
Fedor is the GOAT, was the GOAT, and remains the GOAT.
CheckHisPee- July 8, 2013 at 1:01 am
I swung from Fedor's nuts like it was a fuckin zip-line, but even I can't agree with that. Still can't help but wonder what might have been if he cut to 205 though.
bloodyfart- July 7, 2013 at 5:28 pm
Silva is still the G.O.A.T. and nobody out there aside from Jones has a shot of claiming that anytime soon
Thumblaster- July 7, 2013 at 5:01 pm
Silva never should have gone full retard.
The_Dead_Cow- July 7, 2013 at 4:13 pm
When I found out Santa claus wasn't real, to me it was "surreal".
mookiestick- July 7, 2013 at 3:43 pm
He removed himself from the pound for pound best fighter and added himselft to the "Greatest Assh0le of All Time" list. Gaoat!!!
Clyde- July 7, 2013 at 2:57 pm
What we have essentially seen is a man who frequently plays Russian roulette finally shoot himself in the head. The bobbing and weaving, taunting and general dicking around are a tactic and he's proven that he can get away with it before. It make people open up and make mistakes but as Joe Rogan said, there's a reason no one tells you when you're learning to strike to stand square on, hands down and chin up.
Everyone has that off button and if you let people try to hit it, sooner or later someone will. Anderson probably could win a rematch, but it couldn't hurt for him to get a taste of humble pie.
The scary thought now, is that he may be fighting less capable opponents and may start taking it seriously again. Could suck to be them...
crappiefloper- July 7, 2013 at 1:36 pm
Obviously the LAST thing silva wanted was more weidman ground and pound. Cant blame him fir that, kid was all over him woth G&P, sub attempts, and threatining to work his way up the positional hiearchy. Yup, just bait and antogonize a guy out of his game plan, but WAIT! Oh Snap! Boys got himself a left. That was not part of the plan
Good job kid, strong work. Finish him on the ground next time and your name will be set
OPIO- July 7, 2013 at 1:35 pm
Silva didn't beat himself you dumb fucks. Weidman's fist did. Silva has always been a showoff/entertainer and that's one of the many things I personally loved about him(Ali, Roy Jones, Bruce Lee). It clearly has been working for him enough to run a 7 year reign. Why are some people acting like it's disrespectful. It's a fuckin' fight, there should be no such thing as "respectful" inside that cage when the clock is ticking (minus illegal blows).
Mr_Misanthropy- July 7, 2013 at 1:02 pm
It's like a junior correspondent journalism camp around here... the actual article was proceeded by at least fifteen other articles.

I like watching people get their ass kicked, for better or for worse, and I like watching ass kickers in action. This is a tough sport to pick heroes in though.
Kindling- July 7, 2013 at 12:26 pm
@the silver Hawaiian you may want to look up recapitulate again.