On Saturday, July 6, Chris “All American” Weidman shocked the world by knocking out Anderson “The Spider” Silva at 1:18 of the second round with a strong left hook, and continued to beat him on the ground until referee Herb Dean intervened. Silva was widely considered the number one pound for pound fighter in the world, and held his title for seven long years. After his defeat at the hands of Weidman, the question arises: who can bring down the new champ? Anderson was considered unbeatable, and on a level above almost every other fighter except Jon “Bones” Jones and Georges “Rush” St. Pierre. Now that Weidman has put the myth to rest, and beaten the unbeatable, does this suggest that Chris Weidman is now untouchable?
Although he may have won this fight, this doesn’t necessarily mean that Weidman is the best fighter in the world, and perhaps not even in his division. There are several possible opponents for the new champ, and after beating Silva he now has a giant target on his head that Vitor Belfort and Mark Munoz are both aiming for. Mark Munoz lost to Chris Weidman last year via knockout and after beating back a debilitating depression, fought an incredible match against Tim Boetsch at UFC 162 and won by decision. During the post-fight show on Fuel TV, Munoz said in regards to his fight that “You saw the real Mark Munoz tonight, and having said that, I want that title. I want that belt and I think I can definitely beat Chris Weidman.” Although Munoz isn’t currently considered one of the top contenders in the division, he may get his shot at a rematch if he gets a few more wins and Weidman can hold onto his title.
Vitor Belfort is a much more realistic matchup for Weidman in the immediate future. Before All American took the title from the Spider, Belfort was ranked as the second most dangerous middleweight, and now has moved to the number three spot as Anderson has slid into second. Belfort is a black belt in both BJJ and Judo, as well as a purple belt in Shotokan Karate. With 23 wins over notable fighters like Matt Lindland, Rich Franklin, Yoshihiro Akiyama, knockouts over top contenders in the middleweight division, Luke Rockhold and Michael Bisping, Belfort is extremely qualified to take on Chris Weidman. After stepping up to fight Jon Jones on short notice, as well as being one of the top contenders, Belfort definitely deserves his chance at the champ, but Dana White isn’t so keen on giving it to him just yet. White has offered Silva an immediate rematch against Weidman, and although the former champ expressed no interest in a rematch, Belfort was told that he’s going to have to wait to see if Anderson Silva will change his mind.
Although Munoz, Belfort, Bisping, and others all want their opportunity to take on Weidman, perhaps the man with the best chance to win is the one who wants the fight the least: Anderson Silva. Yes, Anderson lost to a clean and beautiful knockout from All American, but anyone who saw the fight knows that the Spider clearly didn’t take his opponent seriously. Silva is known for showboating and taunting opponents, and he definitely did too much of that against a dangerous foe such as Weidman. That being said, when watching the fight, Anderson didn’t have a problem evading strikes and trading with his opponent. While they were standing, Weidman was starting to get gassed in the second round, and if Silva had actually put his hands up and fought instead of throwing out his chin and dancing around the Octagon, the fight would have ended differently. Maybe Weidman would have still won, maybe it would have gone to decision, but anyone who has followed his career knows that Silva could put up a much better fight given the opportunity. If the former champ were to train hard, put his heart into it, and face Weidman again as a serious opponent, he would definitely stand a chance at taking his title back.