Anderson Silva and Chris Weidman do have unfinished business

silvaweidman

In MMA, people tend to be very quick to accept a story without questioning it. Whether it be a bad decision, a questionable fight stoppage, a retirement or a fighter’s place in the sport. In recent times, no rhetoric has been more repetitive than “Anderson Silva and Chris Weidman don’t have unfinished business”. And it’s totally wrong. They very much have unfinished business.

When Silva fought Weidman at UFC 162 many people felt the young American would provide one of the biggest challenges to ‘The Spider’s’ six year reign as middleweight champion while the oddsmakers favoured the Brazilian heavily. Silva sided with the latter and treated Weidman like he was a child in the gym.

He taunted the New Yorker from the very beginning with thrash talk and continued it even after Weidman landed a few shots and got a takedown which almost ended in a submission. In the second round Silva upped the disrespect as he toyed with the young pretender.

Then Weidman knocked him spark out with a clean left hook to the chin.

Many people called it a lucky shot on a man who was clowning, talking and not treating his opponent with any respect. They were wrong. Silva was clowning, he was talking thrash and he had no respect for his opponent but Weidman still won that fight fair and square. Silva chose to fight the way he did and lost the fight, his belt and consciousness because of it.

Then the rematch was set for UFC 168. This time the odds were closer and Anderson believed them again as he came out in silence with his hands up. No disrespect was shown. The fight was just about even until Weidman dropped Silva with a right hand in close and tried to ezekiel choke him on the floor. Weidman cracked Silva with a few shots on the deck but time was against him and Anderson survived to the second. It might have been better if he didn’t. In the opening exchanges of the second stanza, the most famous kick in MMA history was landed as Silva thumped his shin into the knee of Weidman, snapping it in half. It was a sickening thud and an unfortunate injury. Anderson missed out on a chance to recapture his title, although it looked like being an unlikely proposition given how the fight was going. And while Weidman regained his title, it wasn’t because he landed a better shot or caught a submission or bettered an opponent over twenty-five minutes. He probably would have won via one of those three methods if the fight had gone on on. But it didn’t. And he didn’t. He won because of a freak injury to his opponent. In pro wrestling terms, Weidman wasn’t put over clean.

Despite everything, the Chris Weidman vs. Anderson Silva saga hasn’t been settled. But that doesn’t mean it should be. Silva has returned from the leg injury in the second fight but, against Nick Diaz, he didn’t look the same. He looked like he did in the second Weidman fight but a little slower, a little older and a lot less confident. Now, some of that can be put down to him being rusty and some of it may be out down to him being nearly forty years old but is that enough to close the gap between he and Weidman.. probably not. He might get a little less rusty but he certainly isn’t getting any younger.

In MMA there is a clear curve in a fighter’s career. They start at the bottom, they rise slowly, they get to the top of their ability and they fall off much quicker than they rose. Anderson Silva may be the greatest fighter ever, but he isn’t excluded from that. He is clearly on the downslope of his time as an MMA fighter while Weidman might still have not even reached the height of his potential. And while it’s clear they have unfinished business, at this point in their respective careers, that might be a good thing.

Podcaster, lead MMA writer and analyst for SevereMMA. Host of the SevereMMA podcast, out every Sunday. Economics and Mathematics graduate from UCC. Also write for Sherdog. Previously of hov-mma and fightbooth. As heard on 2FM, Red FM, Today FM and more. Follow me on twitter for updates @SeanSheehanBA and on Facebook Facebook.com/seansheehanmma