Chris Weidman shook the world just eight days ago by defeating the biggest legend in the UFC to capture the middleweight title. Anderson Silva had never lost in the octagon heading into that fight, and was riding an unbelievable 16 fight win streak. Dana White has already booked a rematch for December 28 of this year, so the fight is going to happen. The question is how Anderson Silva will approach a rematch with Weidman?
After a quick take down, Silva was able to get back to his feet, and began to use his signature taunting style that has embarrassed so many opponents over the years. The only difference was that Weidman caught him.
A left hook landed flush early in the second round and the fight was quickly over. After a fake stumble, Silva kept bobbing and weaving with his hands down, however when Weidman struck him, his eyes rolled back in his head and the unthinkable happened.
After the conclusion of the fight, The Spider said that he had no plans of going after the title he had just lost. Silva didn’t want a rematch want a rematch with Weidman. In his post fight interview he sounded like he was debating retirement despite his new ten fight contract, saying his immediate plans included his “thinking of going home, and then thinking of what I’m going to do after that in three or four months. There’s a lot of pressure in defending the title. I want to take some time.”
Dana White denied the possibility that the fight would not happen, and he has in fact convinced Silva to fight and has even set a date of December 28 for it to happen. It will be a merry Christmas for all fans of the UFC to say the least.
Now that Weidman will probably go into the fight as a favorite, it will be interesting to see how Silva approaches being an underdog in the rematch.
“What changed is when Anderson Silva talked after the fight, the guy forgot what it’s like to lose,” Dana White told ESPN in an interview. “He hasn’t lost ever in the UFC. Never lost, broke every record we’ve ever had. Anderson is motivated, fired up and wants the belt back.”
If that is the case, Silva will have to adjust to what Weidman showed him in their first fight. Unlike so many others who have stepped into the cage with Anderson, Weidman was able to keep his composure and not let the constant taunting get into his head.
Given that he has already beat Silva on the feet, he will probably go into this fight confident away from the mat. Although wrestling is his strong suit, Weidman showed he can afford to be patient and wait for the right moment to take the fight to the ground.
Anderson Silva will have to adjust. We haven’t seen this before. He hasn’t had to do that since joining the UFC in 2006. Will he once again put his hands down and taunt Weidman while the two are standing? It’s actually hard to imagine Silva fighting with a traditional style where he actually has hands up to defend himself.
If he can avoid taunting and the take down, Silva should be able to prove he is the better stand up fighter. However he is in uncharted waters and may be desperate to avenge his only loss in the octagon. If he can come up with a game plan and stick to it, he should reclaim his title.
A loss could very well get into his head, he hasn’t had to taste defeat in seven years. The taste can be bitter and tough to overcome, Silva needs to remain disciplined and confident entering this fight.
Weidman has been enjoying his first week with the title, lugging his belt around to talk shows and social events. Sleep has been hard to come by for the champ so far, but he will need to get back in a routine where taking care of his body is a priority. Silva is going to be ready for him come December.
Whether or not Silva or Weidman walks out of Las Vegas with the title on December 28 is anyone’s guess. The fight will be the most anticipated bout in the history of the UFC, that much is certain. How Anderson Silva approaches a rematch with Weidman is anything but certain. Weidman and the Spider will put on a show, if only it wasn’t half a year away.
Follow me on Twitter @CharlieGille
Senior Sports Editor
The Guardian Express