After the Silva v Weidman fight at UFC 168 one of the following three scenarios will occur:
1) Anderson Silva beats Weidman, a trilogy bout is heavily lobbied for by Zuffa
2) Wiedman beats Silva and we enter the post-Anderson Silva era in the middleweight division
3) There is a controversial decision that rivals GSP v Hendrix, Dana White spontaneously combusts during post-fight presser, causing Ariel Helwani to giggle a little.
This is how we got here:
UFC's Middleweight Championship: A Review
"UFC 33 is the only one I can remember where every fight sucked."
- Dana White
Pre-Anderson Silva Middleweight Championship Fights
Event Winner Opponent Method round time
UFC 33 Dave Menne def Gil Castillo Decision 5 5:00
UFC 35 Bustamante def Dave Menne TKO (punches) 2 0:44
UFC 37 Bustamante def Matt Lindland Submission 3 1:33
UFC 51 Evan Tanner def David Terrell TKO (Strikes) 1 4:35
UFC 53 Rich Franklin def Evan Tanner TKO 4 3:25
UFC 56 Rich Franklin def Nate Quarry KO (Punch) 1 2:34
UFC 58 Rich Franklin def David Loiseau Decision 5 5:00
The UFC's first Middlewight championship fight saw Dave Menne, a wrestler based out of Minnesota, defeat Gil Castillo by decision on Sept 28th 2001, one of five decisions and 3 title fights on the infamously bad UFC 33 show. Murilo Bustamante , was also on that card, losing a decision to Chuck Liddell. Bustamante's performance in the loss was apparently good enough to earn him a middleweight title shot against Menne on the UFC 35 card, which he won via TKO.
Bustamante, a Carlson Gracie disciple, defeated Matt Lindland by guillotine choke at UFC 37 but vacated the title in order to head to Japan's Pride Fighting Championship.
From 2002 to 2005 the UFC went without a middleweight champion until Evan Tanner defeated David Terrell at UFC 51. Tanner's reign would be short lived as Rich Franklin claimed the title via doctor's stoppage in the 4th round of his championship shot against Tanner at UFC 53.
Enter Anderson Silva.
ANDERSON SILVA PRIDE FIGHTING CHAMPIONSHIP RECORD
Anderson Silva Pride Record
Pride 21 Anderson Silva def Alex Stiebling TKO 1 1:23
Pride 22 Anderson Silva def Alexander Otsuka Decision (unanimous) 3 5:00
Pride 25 Anderson Silva def Carlos Newton KO 1 6:27
Pride 26 Daiju Takase def Anderson Silva Submission 1 8:33
PSW 04 Ryo Chonan def Anderson Silva Submission 3 3:08
Silva Early Career
Anderson Silva spent the early part of his career fighting in his native Brazil before signing on with the Shooto organization in Japan, where he would eventually win their middleweight championship (Shooto's middleweight division was 168lbs). From there Silva would sign on with the Pride Fighting Championships and make his debut in June of 2002 at Pride 21. Silva's Pride days were not as successful as his UFC career would later be however, as he only managed a 3W and 2L record, and from June 2003 to January 2006 Silva would only manage a 5W and 3L record.
After losing by flying heel hook to Ryo Chonnen at Pride Shockwave 4 Silva was cut by the organization. He then racked up a couple of wins in England's Cage Rage promotion and a DQ loss to Yushin Okami in the opening round of the Rumble on the Rock tournament in Hawaii, Silva's first ever fight in North America.
Still relatively unheard of in the United States the UFC signed Silva to a multi-fight contract, and scheduled his first fight for June 28th 2006 against the popular Ultimate Fighter 1 alum Chris Leben.
Silva UFC Career
SILVA CAREER UFC TITLE FIGHTS AT MIDDLEWEIGHT
Anderson Silva Middleweight title fights
UFC 64 Anderson Silva def Rich Franklin TKO 1 2:59
UFC 67 Anderson Silva def Travis Lutter Submission 2 2:11
UFC 73 Anderson Silva def Nate Marquardt TKO 1 4:50
UFC 77 Anderson Silva def Rich Franklin TKO 2 1:07
UFC 82 Anderson Silva def Dan Henderson Submission 2 4:50
UFC 90 Anderson Silva def Patrick Cote TKO (injury) 3 0:39
UFC 97 Anderson Silva def Thales Leites Decision 5 5:00
UFC 112 Anderson Silva def Demian Maia Decision 5 5:00
UFC 117 Anderson Silva def Chael Sonnen Submission 5 3:10
UFC 126 Anderson Silva def Vitor Belfort KO 1 3:25
UFC 134 Anderson Silva def Yushin Okami TKO 2 2:04
UFC 148 Anderson Silva def Chael Sonnen TKO 2 1:55
UFC 162 Chris Weidman def Anderson Silva KO 2 1:18
Leben, the fighter made popular for "spritzing" on the bed of a guy he referred to as "Strange Brew" amongst many other reasons, was confident going into the fight with the debuting Silva and predicted a knockout over the Brazilian. Silva knocked out Leben in 49 seconds.
After the Leben fight the UFC put a poll on their website asking fans who they felt the Brazilian should face next. The winner of the poll was the current middleweight champion Rich Franklin.
Silva defeated Franklin convincingly to win the title, and then successfully defended the title against Franklin again a year later. Dan Henderson was considered to be a legit challenge to Silva heading into their fight (A Pride welterweight and UFC middleweight title unification bout) at UFC 82, but still Silva was able to make Henderson tap at the end of the second round.
After the Henderson bout the entertainment value that came from Anderson Silva title fights hit a bit of a snag. Title defences against Cote, Leites, and Maia underwhelmed, with Silva once almost being deducted a point for inactivity in the latter fight.
Then came Chael Sonnen and UFC 117, throw in an injured Anderson Silva rib and the result was Sonnen nearly knocking off the best in the world. Sonnen's wrestling dominated Silva for almost five rounds until Sonnen tapped to a triangle armbar.
Following the Sonnen fight Silva kicked a hole through Vitor Belfort's face, beat Yushin Okami, and then looked dominate again against Sonnen in the rematch.
Enter Chris Weidman
Chris Weidman Professional Record
ROC 23 Chris Weidman def Reubem Lopes Submission
ROC 24 Chris Weidman def Mike Stewart TKO 1 2:38
ROC 31 Chris Weidman def Uriah Hall TKO 1 3:06
ROC 33 Chris Weidman def Valdir Araujo Decision 3 5:00
UFC Live Chris Weidman def Alessio Sakara Decision 3 5:00
UFC 131 Chris Weidman def Jesse Bongfeldt Submission 1 4:54
UFC 139 Chris Weidman def Tom Lawlor Submission 1 2:07
UFC on Fox Chris Weidman def Demian Maia Decision 3 5:00
UFC on Fuel Chris Weidman def Mark Muñoz KO 2 1:37
UFC 162 Chris Weidman def Anderson Silva KO 2 1:18
Chris Weidman's Story
Born in Nassau County, Weidman was a wrestler in high school and college with aspirations to make the USA Olympic wrestling team. When those hopes didn't materialize Weidman got hooked up with Ray Longo and Matt Serra, learned striking from the former, jiu-jitsu from the latter, and made his pro debut in the Brooklyn-based Ring of Combat in 2009.
Weidman would end his first two fights quickly, setting up a fight for Ring of Combat's middleweight titleholder and future Ultimate Fighter finalist (and Jamarcus Russell impressionist) Uriah Hall.
Weidman made quick work of Hall in the first round, and successfully defended the title once before receiving a contract offer from the UFC.
In his first two UFC fights Weidman was a late replacement for an injured fighter. In the case of his debut against Sakara, it was two weeks notice and Weidman was nursing a rib injury at the time.
Weidman disposed of Tom Lawlor before beating former #1 contender Damian Maia via unanimous decision. Then one year after defeating Mark Munoz and bringing his UFC win streak to 5, Chris Weidman was scheduled to fight Anderson Silva for the middleweight title.
Heading into the fight Weidman was a 2-1 underdog.
Silva Vs Weidman 1
In case you didn't re-watch the fight that night several times, or you haven't re-watched the fight via YouTube several times since, here is everything you need to know about what happened:
Early in the first round Weidman gets the take down on Silva and lands a few shots on the ground.
Chants for Brazil and USA chants are heard.
Weidman tries to pass Silva's guard but can't, then attempts a heel hook. Silva rolls out of it and then they are back to their feet with 2 minutes to go in the round.
That's when the games began.
Silva does his move where he puts his back to the cage and wants the guy to come after him, as seen in his fight against Stephan Bonnar.
Silva has his hands on his hips at 1:30 left in the round, not because he is tired but because... well, you would have to ask Anderson why. Weidman charges at him while his hands are still down but Silva avoids him. Silva waves him forward enthusiastically.
With a minute left Silva starts to come forward with some kicks, but then continues to bait Weidman until the end of the round.
When the buzzer sounds at the end of the first round the two fighters hug and Silva says something into Weidman's ear that makes Weidman smile and nod in agreement. Whatever they said to each other is currently not known by too many people.
In between rounds Silva is hyping up the crowd.
They start in the center and Anderson is immediately back to the same baiting tactics, except now Silva starts to make believe like he has been wobbled and his legs are shaky and quite possibly unable to support him.
Weidman goes in for a takedown that Silva defends.
Weidman nearly lands a shot that causes Silva to instinctively pretend as though he has been rocked, complete with exaggerated rubber legs. Weidman takes advantage of this opening and lands a solid shot to Silva's chin. Shortly thereafter Chris Weidman was announced as the first new middleweight champion in almost 7 years.
If you had never seen an Anderson Silva fight before you probably thought this was the most ridiculous thing that has ever occurred in sports. If you are someone who has seen Silva fight you probably still considered it ridiculous, but your mind was significantly less blown by the whole thing.
Anderson Silva and the Art of Slapstick Attack Baiting
Quickly after the fight there were many who said that had Silva not continuously had his hands down while baiting Weidman, or not "played games in the Octagon" as Joe Rogan put it, that Silva would still be the champ. Rankings seemed to treat the defeat as an anomaly that would be corrected in about 6 months.
Whether or not Silva is able to beat Weidman if he can just fight off the urge to play those games is something we might find out soon, and then again, we might not. But this was not the first time Silva employed those tactics however, far from it.
Silva did almost nothing but this in his fight against Forrest Griffin.
Then quite often in his fight against Stephan Bonner
It is a tactic he has used before to prevent his opponents from fighting too cautiously. It is probably not likely he will use the same tactics against Weidman again, but I wouldn't rule it out either.
What Comes Next for the Middleweight Title
Anderson Silva will be 40 years old in less than a year and a half. Nobody has accomplished as much as he has in the sport, and if he loses again to Weidman, baiting tactics or not, it does not tarnish his legacy as being the best ever. That's not to say Silva will go into this fight lacking the necessary motivation, he will come with all the motivation he needs to win, it's just that Weidman has much more on the line.
To Weidman this fight (and perhaps a potential trilogy bout) is all about whether he is the new king at 185lbs, or if his legacy will be that he is the guy who briefly interrupted Silva's rein. Will he be the Matt Serra of the Middleweight division or is Weidman capable of his own rein as champ?
When you consider the significance of this fight on Dec. 28th the $5 increase in pay-per-view cost doesn't seem unwarranted at all. That should make Dana White relax and calm down a bit... but it won't.