LAS VEGAS – Anderson Silva bobbed, weaved and clowned his way to the first loss of his UFC career.
The now-former UFC middleweight champion showed little respect to opponent Chris Weidman, who entered Saturday’s UFC 162 pay-per-view headliner as one of the smallest underdogs of Silva’s long title reign. As a result, MMA’s pound-for-pound kingpin and arguably the greatest fighter in the sport’s history gave away the fight as much as Weidman won it.
In front of a stunned crowd at Las Vegas’ MGM Grand Garden Arena, Silva (33-5 MMA, 16-1 UFC) dropped his hands, dared Weidman (10-0 MMA, 6-0 UFC) to take a swing, and laughed off the challenger’s attempts. That was all well and good through the first round, when Silva escaped from an early takedown and heel-hook attempt to get back to his feet and deliver some late-round leg kicks.
But like the first round, Silva continued clowning in the second round. However, unlike his past 16 straight UFC wins and 10 consecutive title defenses, he finally paid the price for it. After Silva backed out of range with his hands at his waist, Weidman initially whiffed on two punches. The third, though, caught the Brazilian flush, and he tumbled to the mat as his eyes rolled to the back of his head from the crushing left hand. Weidman delivered a final blow to his downed opponent, which prompted Herb Dean to wave off the bout 78 seconds into the round.
Weidman said he had training partners mimic Silva’s well-known mind games and taunting during his extended fight camp.
“I was ready for it,” the new champion said. “It pisses me off when someone tries to do that to me. I just knew little by little, I was going to creep on him, and when he slept, I was going to get him.”
Weidman, a fashionable underdog pick despite his 2-to-1 underdog status, proved correct the numerous UFC fighters and industry insiders who predicted the upset. Their rationale was that like Dan Henderson and Chael Sonnen, who were the only fighters to give Silva any real trouble in the octagon, Weidman possessed a stellar wrestling game that could put the champ on his back. However, unlike those other challengers, Weidman got the victory and ended Silva’s seven-year title reign.
Although Weidman won the bout in emphatic fashion, Silva’s mental miscues likely will be an unwelcome footnote to the victory. Still, it’s not going to stop the 29-year-old New Yorker from savoring the upset and his new belt.
“I felt I was destined for this, but it still feels a little far-fetched,” he said.
Silva, who hadn’t been knocked out in 37 previous pro bouts, halts an overall 17-fight win streak and spoils plans for a potential cross-division, champion-vs.-champion superfight with the likes of Georges St-Pierre or Jon Jones. While an immediate rematch with Weidman would be a big-money fight for all involved, Silva said he was “done fighting for belts” and suggested he’ll turn his focus elsewhere.
However, the 38-year-old, who recently signed a new 10-fight UFC contract, quickly dismissed questions about a potential retirement.
“No, no, I have 10 more fights,” he said. “But I don’t fight anymore for the belt. I’m tired. I’ve fought for a long time. My [plan] for the belt is finished tonight. Chris is the new champion.”
Expect UFC President Dana White to have some thoughts on those ill-advised plans.
Up-to-the-minute UFC 162 results include:
- Chris Weidman def. Anderson Silva via TKO (punches) – Round 2, 1:18 – to become newUFC middleweight champion
- Frankie Edgar def. Charles Oliveira via unanimous decision (30-27, 29-28, 30-27)
- Tim Kennedy def. Roger Gracia via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)
- Mark Munoz def. Tim Boetsch via unanimous decision (30-26, 30-27, 29-28)
- Cub Swanson def. Dennis Siver via TKO (punches) – Round 3, 2:24
- Andrew Craig def. Chris Leben via split decision (29-28, 28-29, 30-27)
- Norman Parke def. Kazuki Tokudome via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)
- Gabriel Gonzaga def. Dave Herman via TKO (punches) – Round 1, 0:17
- Edson Barboza def. Rafaello Oliveira via TKO (leg kicks) – Round 2, 1:44
- Brian Melancon def. Seth Baczynski via KO (punches) – Round 1, 4:59
- Mike Pierce def. David Mitchell via TKO (punches) – Round 2, 2:55
For complete coverage of UFC 162, stay tuned to the UFC Events section of the site.
John Morgan contributed to this report on-site in Las Vegas.