Last night, at UFC 162 in Las Vegas, we witnessed the end of an era as Anderson “The Spider” Silva fell early in the second round to punches from Chris Weidman, ending his 17-fight winning streak, his 10 title defense streak, and his 16-0 undefeated record while in the UFC. After watching a passive Silva showboat and taunt his opponent from the latter part of the first round into the beginning of the second, it was clear to anyone watching that this was not the champion fighter we have followed for the past seven years. Instantaneously, controversy sprung forth all over the Internet and social media between Silva followers and Silva haters as to whether a cocky champion got caught, or a tired veteran intentionally lost the fight.
It was clear that while standing, Silva was the superior athlete, as anyone who can showboat in the Octagon without mounting an offense must be. While taunting Weidman, he managed to slip jabs with precision, roll with punches, side step kicks, and dodge when he wanted to. While Weidman was coming for him with everything he had, Silva countered with a few kicks here and there between his dance moves and taunts. It was disappointing to watch Silva take the clinch and not throw any of his signature knees, or see him keep his hands down, on his hips, or in the air to egg his opponent on. But why would Silva want to lose his belt?
After the fight, when asked about a rematch, Silva denied having any desire towards fighting Weidman again for the belt. He said he was “tired” of all the title defenses, that Weidman was the best now, and that he wanted to spend some time at home. At 38, sporting one of the most impressive runs in MMA history, who could blame him? Silva recently opened his own training facility, and signed a 10 fight contract after only wanting four. He told MMAjunkie, “I wanted to do four more fights, and they said eight, so I said, ‘Whatever. Let’s do eight, 10. Let’s do however many fights you want.’ They got on that ride and offered me 10 fights, and that’s what I signed for.” Although he said he doesn’t want to fight for the belt again, the Los Angeles Times reports UFC President Dana White saying “I guarantee you there’s nothing more he [Silva] wants than that rematch with Chris Weidman.” Everyone knows that the money is in the rematch, and that White would want nothing more than for this to happen.
But was does Silva want? If he did actually throw the fight, it is clear that more fights are not on the top of his wish list. What better way to get released from a contract then by losing fights and putting on a poor show? Silva is known for showboating in the past, but not to this extent. Yes, he got caught, he got knocked out, and no one in their right mind is saying that was planned by the Spider. That’s what happens when you’re careless: you get caught, and it was clear that the former champ didn’t care about winning this last fight. If he wanted to win, he would have kept his hands up, eased up on the taunts, actually thrown some combinations, utilized knees from the clinch, and fought like a man with 33 wins and 22 knockouts. It was disappointing; you can blame it on showboating to get Weidman angry and off his takedown game plan, or on Silva’s overconfidence. Blame it on whatever you want, but the fact of the matter is the champ was knocked out after displaying no desire to put pressure on his opponent. When talking about the long contract with MMAjunkie, Silva said “It all depends. Ten fights is about six years, so we’ll see what happens in the meantime. I Hope that I’m still inspired and that I still have the willpower and the desire to go out there and fight.”