Last night, the greatest of all time got beat. And it was pretty epic.
One of Anderson Silva’s primary tactics in the cage is to employ psychological tactics to make his opponents feel like they can’t possibly win. Sometimes, he’ll drop his hands, he’ll goad his opponent into hitting his open chin. He’ll duck and dodge and give his opponent the sense that he’s powerless. And then he’ll turn it on.
UFC announcer Joe Rogan often calls this process “clowning.” And he’s right. Sometimes it looks like Silva’s mocking his opponents and the audience simultaneously.
Last night, he tried the same tactics with top contender Chris Weidman. And to his credit, Weidman kept on plugging anyway despite the “clowning.”
Then he connected with Silva’s open chin. Then Silva went down. Then Weidman bounced his head off the canvas twice. Then we had a new middleweight champion for the first time since 2006.
Make no mistake, Anderson Silva is the greatest of all time. But the entire crowd was on Weidman’s side last night, both in the crowd at the event and elsewhere. At the bar where I watched the fight, there were A LOT of boos during Weidman’s entrance, and A LOT of cheers when Anderson walked up. After the fight, everyone was cheering and happy for Weidman.
And that’s the problem with clowning I guess. Live by the clowning, die by the clowning. You get the adoration when you win, but it’s hard to feel pity when you lose.
Huge congrats to Chris Weidman. I did not think he’d be able to win, but very happy for him and his success. Let’s hope he has an awesome reign at the title.
Other notes from the evening:
1) Frankie Edgar is back! Frankie is my favorite, and his last three losses due to contentious judge’s decisions were pretty brutal to watch. I’m glad to see him back in the winner’s bracket after a fairly dominant victory. Hope that continues.
2) Mark Munoz looked very strong against the durable, tough Tim Boetsch. Glad to see Munoz back; when he’s on his game there’s little he can’t do. Also apparently he’s like the nicest guy in the UFC, and it’s always great to see nice guys finish first.
3) I’m fine with not having many more Gracie fights in the UFC. Obviously they were incredibly important to the evolution of Mixed Martial Arts as a sport, but they haven’t won in the UFC in like a hundred years, and most of their fights have been fairly boring. Last night was no exception.
4) Cub Swanson needs to be respected at featherweight. Dude is a beast, and Dennis Siver is one tough guy. Major props to him for getting the finish. I’d love to see Swanson vs. Ricardo Lamas to determine a clear future contender that will probably get sidelined due to a recovering Anthony Pettis, but still that fight would be a barn-burner.
5) I’m very excited to see what happens in the Middleweight Division. After the fight, Anderson declared that he doesn’t really want to fight for the belt anymore, which I think would be AWESOME for the division because of how much it opens up. Guys like Belfort, Bisping, and Munoz are back in the mix and can challenge for the belt soon. BUUUUUUUT, if you ask me, Anderson will reconsider that rematch once it becomes apparent how much money can be made off of a share of the PPVs, plus Anderson waking up every morning for the next couple weeks with the realization that he’s not the champion anymore might be a tough thing to swallow. So the rematch will probably happen.
The UFC almost always delivers on their 4th of July cards. This year was no exception. Fantastic night of fights with a co-main that gave me exactly what I wanted (Frankie wins! Frankie wins!) and a main event that made history. Good stuff.