On Saturday July 6, 2013 the greatest martial artist who ever lived, Anderson Silva, got knocked out by Chris Weidman, the #1 middleweight contender, a challenger with five UFC fights under his belt, a man who is now the 185-pound champion.
UFC 162 was hosted by the MGM Grand in Las Vegas and a decent undercard also saw Frankie Edgar outlast a very game young Charles Oliveira from Brazil but the only thing anyone will ever remember about Saturday night will be referee Herb Dean standing over Anderson “The Spider” Silva and putting an end to what may be the most incredible run in modern combat sports history, and Silva himself proved why.
No matter how many fights you’ve won, no matter how much better you are than your opponent, even if you’re only doing it to hype up the crowd or motivate yourself — you simply cannot play games in MMA.
The athletes are too good, fights can change too quick and the gloves are far too small.
Silva’s gotten away with it before, and after the champion was on his back in the first round he got back up and toyed with Weidman, showing zero respect for the hands of the All-American wrestler. The 29-year-old beast named Weidman looked to be in the same spot as many of The Spider’s victims, being sized up early while Silva starts shimmying those hands, and then he hurts you in spectacular fashion. But Silva came out in the second round determined to keep fooling around.
It seemed from afar like Anderson didn’t feel Chris Weidman deserved to be in the ring with him. But who does?
Although it’s a legitimate concern for the 38-year-old Muay thai master who has few fights left, and wants them all to be memorable. A man who’s worn the No. 1 headband for so long, strolling through the world’s most dangerous arenas over-and-over unscathed, outside that one night in Oakland when he needed some late magic to beat Chael Sonnen the first time.
Silva is the Lion King among the predators of the MMA jungle.
Not with that crap he pulled in the second round.
Toying with Weidman, bobbing, ducking, hands down, taunting, pounding his chest — and then time seemed to stand still for an instant that will live forever.
A moment proving how quickly winds can shift in the octagon, even for a Picasso of violence from Curitiba, Brazil known as The Spider. A glancing blow by the challenger stunned the champion. Weidman seized the opening with hurried bombs, and there it was.
A relatively ordinary strike, but flush, right on the jaw of a legend thought by many to be un-hittable, unbeatable, bordering on unhuman, a true artist in the octagon.
Felled by a mere mortal named Chris Weidman.
He invited Weidman to wade in and swing, and finally he did. Not quite Buster Douglas beating Mike Tyson in Japan, but an all too pedestrian way for a champion such as Silva to fall back to earth.
One minute and 18 seconds into the second round Herb Dean stepped in and called the fight, preventing the fallen champion from taking any more damage.
It ended Silva’s record run of 16 straight unbeaten in the UFC, where he had never lost, and stopped his record title defense streak at 10.
Any super-fight with George St-Pierre will have to wait. Anderson Silva must now get up off the canvas and do something he’s never done in his entire career.
The Spider has to go win his belt back.