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UFC 162: Chris Weidman KOs Anderson Silva to claim middleweight belt

The new middleweight champion, Chris Weidman, basks at the post-fight press conference. Screenshot courtesy The UFC's Youtube page.

We’ve seen a lot of surprises in the Octagon over the years, but nothing quite like Chris Weidman knocking out Anderson Silva. It wasn’t only the KO, but how it happened, and what was said afterward. 

Most fighters and many fans gave Weidman a nod beforehand, due to his stellar wrestling and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, despite Anderson Silva being the greatest mixed martial artist ever. Silva hadn’t lost in the UFC, and hadn’t lost at all since 2006. Weidman was simply considered a bad matchup for Silva. 

Weidman got Silva down early, and was able to get some telling shots through. He attempted a leg and ankle submission on The Spider in the ensuing  scramble. Once up on his feet, Silva’s patented clowning began. 

Silva has clowned before, against Stefan Bonner, Forrest Griffin, and Chael Sonnen, among others. He lowers his hands, bobs and weaves, and sometimes pretends to be hurt. He goads fighters to hit him, or to take him down. The Brazilian claims he does this to put his opponent in a bad mindset, to force them to make mistakes, rather than to ridicule. 

Between rounds one and two the frustration in Weidman’s corner was heard: “Punch a hole in his fucking chest,” a cornerman told Weidman. 

In the second round Silva continued the clowning, only worse. It was memories of his title fight with BJJ ace Damien Maia, whom Silva toyed with for three rounds before cruising the last two. The more Silva clowned with Weidman, the more it became apparent it wasn’t to get him off his game, it was  disrespect, of Weidman and fans who come to see a fight, not an acting performance. 

Weidman looked out of his league as he tried to hit Silva as he bobbed and weaved, but hit him he did, with a left to the mandible that rolled Silva’s eyes and put him to the canvas. A few shots later and Weidman was the new champion. 

After the fight Weidman praised Silva, saying he’d always looked up to the former champion. When Silva got his turn to speak, he beseeched fans to respect the new champion, “Who’s the best.” Silva also intimated he’s tired of the belt, and though he still wants to fight, he said he’s not interested in belts or a rematch. “Chris Weidman’s the champion,” he said. 

The clowning is an anomaly in the career of a fighter who has mostly embodied all that is right with martial arts. So why clowning, why disrespect? 

Only Anderson Silva can answer that, and he likely never will. He's enigmatic when it comes to fighting, training, and what thoughts he has about MMA. His culture and language also seem to be a barrier. 

Although the fight is tainted by the clowning, in a way it’s a fitting end for Anderson Silva’s reign at middleweight, since this behavior is common with him and has raised the ire of a lot of fans. 

Considering the loss and what was said afterwards, I’ll always wonder if he lost on purpose, as a way to pass the torch. I can’t wrap my head around it, but I can’t wrap my head around a lot of what this great fighter does and says. It’s not worth spending much time on. 

With luck, the next time we see Silva in the Octagon it’ll be in a super fight against GSP or Jon Jones. When those fights happen, the clowning will be a thing of the past. He’ll have too much on the line with regards to his legacy for that. 

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Follow me on Twitter @RenkoStyranka

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