The greatest title reign in UFC history has come to an end. The frustrating part is that it's basically a footnote, because of the way it transpired. Instead of being able to appreciate the run Silva put together, everyone's talking about the way it ended (and rightfully so, unfortunately). There seems to be two camps of people: people who think Silva got caught, by being cocky, and people who think he wasn't that interested in winning the fight. The truth is, no one really knows which one it was. Me? I'm in-between. Originally, I thought it was the former. After seeing Silva's post-fight interview, I started thinking it was the latter. But after letting things settle a bit, I think that it may have been a little of both (if I had to guess).
Maybe he was a little tired or stressed and lacking proper motivation. Maybe he was trying to win and did just make a mistake, and the things he expressed afterward were subconscious feelings that he was just realizing. The reason I think it may be a little of both is because of his behavior. He's no stranger to using provocation, but he did so more than usual in this fight. He wasn't just dropping his hands, something he's done many times before, but he would also act like he was wobbly. That behavior was even more egregious than what he did against Demian Maia. And there's no way that he thought Chris Weidman's striking deserved the same lack of respect that he gave Maia's (and then some).
Regardless of whether or not his behavior during the fight was born of cockiness or some level of disinterest, it took away from Weidman's victory. That wasn't a fight that proved Weidman was better. It proved that Silva shouldn't behave that way ever again. If they do a rematch, I hope it's because Silva wants to have one and not because Dana convinces him to do one ($). Because if this fight happens again, Weidman needs to fight a clearly motivated Silva. That way if he wins, we can all give him the proper respect he would indisputably deserve. But unless that happens, it will be hard to take this victory without a grain of salt. No one knows what was in Silva's head, but we may get some indication in the near future. If he doesn't demand a rematch, doesn't that prove that he wasn't 100% dedicated to keeping the title?
Whatever happens next needs to be Silva's choosing. If he fights Weidman again, it needs to be because he really wants the belt back. If he wants a new challenge other than Middleweight? Well then it sucks for Weidman that he wouldn't get to prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that he's better than Silva. But at least if Silva were to vacate the division, we could actually be headed down a path that ends with him facing Jon Jones. So something good should come of this. We'll either get a Silva-Weidman rematch that puts all doubt to rest, or we could be starting down the path to an amazing Light Heavyweight title fight. A fight that I would still be very interested in seeing, because - as crazy as it was against Weidman - would he really try that "gameplan" with Jones? If there was ever going to be one non-Heavyweight in the world that Anderson Silva wouldn't drop his hands against, it would be Jon Jones. It's the one fight that would (or at least should) guarantee a completely motivated Silva. And now that he doesn't hold the title, he's technically free to move up. So maybe Silva losing didn't end the prospect of a Jones fight. Maybe it made it more likely. Because, like I wrote on Saturday, I don't think a super fight would've ever happened (Silva-GSP or Silva-Jones).
If it was going to, it would've been done by now. Back in the summer of 2009, right after Silva destroyed Forrest Griffin, I wanted to see a Silva-GSP super fight. Obviously it never came together. And why not? Was it because their schedule's weren't lined up? Nope. They fought two weeks apart. Was it because they both had deserving contenders waiting in the wings? Not really. GSP's next fight was against Dan Hardy and Silva's was against Demian Maia. Does anyone really believe that the UFC would let Hardy and Maia stand in the way of what could have been one of the biggest fights of all-time, had they really wanted to make that fight happen?
Even if the UFC believed Hardy and Maia were deserving contenders, it's not like they haven't bypassed deserving contenders - in order to set up big-money fights - before. For example, Nick Diaz (coming off a loss) getting a title shot over Johny Hendricks. Chael Sonnen was a Middleweight coming off a loss. He got a title shot, because there were no better options, right? Like say, Anderson Silva? It's a super fight that Dana White supposedly wanted to happen. So why didn't it happen? That's right, Silva was taking time off and Jones had to film TUF with, and then fight, Sonnen. The fight that Dana claims he wanted to happen didn't happen because Silva was taking time off and Jones was fighting Sonnen? Yep. Dana totally wanted this fight to happen. And it was going to happen. Unless of course vacation and an undeserving Middleweight got in the way. But other than that, this fight was totally going to happen.
While it sucks to see the greatest title reign in UFC history come to an end, at least Dana White no longer has to pretend to want to set up super fights.