LAS VEGAS – Anderson Silva has used that confounding, exasperating style of his, the one where he sticks out his chin and invites his opponent to take a swing at it, for as long as anyone can remember.

That style has led him to become the greatest mixed martial arts fighter in history, so it's hard to tell him it's a mistake.

And yet, when it doesn't work, it fails in epic proportions. We shake our heads and question why he does it, as we did when Silva left his chin exposed for one second too long against Chris Weidman at UFC 162 in July and it cost him his middleweight championship belt.

He'll get a chance to regain it on Saturday at the MGM Grand Garden when he meets Weidman for the title in the main event of UFC 168.

It was obvious, then as now, why Silva did what he did throughout UFC 162: his biggest concern about Weidman was Weidman's wrestling ability. Silva didn't want to repeatedly be put on his back, as he was against Chael Sonnen in two fights, and either get submitted or beaten up via elbows from the top.

He'd take his chances against Weidman in a standup battle any day. Hence, at UFC 162, Silva put his hands on his hips, nudged his chin toward Weidman and dared him to hit it.

So many times before, that strategy worked perfectly, always to Silva's advantage. Silva has looked like a killer using that strategy, getting his opponents off-balance and out of position while trying to attack his chin, then quickly taking advantage when they inevitably failed.

Silva's strength is his ability to quickly react when he sees an opening. His UFC debut, in 2006 against Chris Leben, served notice of the type of fight he would bring.

Leben pressed forward, and threw a couple of punches at Silva. The punches were wide, and never really were a threat. But Silva fired quick shots down the middle that took advantage of Leben's suddenly unprotected chin.

If an attacking fighter misses a punch, he's defenseless for a split second or so as he follows through. That's when the counter striker launches his own attack.

Silva caught Leben with two straight punches, which hurt Leben and set up the finish.

We saw it time and again throughout his UFC career, as he would move fighters out of position and then attack.

But it didn't work once and now, everything is coming into question.

Of course, it's unfair, but that's the nature of sports, particularly at the championship level. Win by using a particular tactic and be hailed. Lose with that same tactic and be prepared to handle an unending string of questions.

Silva is 38, and his age has been made an issue. He was champion for so long that his motivation also became an issue.

He's a pro's pro, and Silva understands what is needed to succeed. He's never been the most outgoing with the media, and so perhaps he hasn't gotten the credit he's deserved for an incredible career – doesn't it seem that Georges St-Pierre got more credit, for doing less, than Silva? – but no one can knock his preparedness.

He never failed to be in shape and he never failed to be ready to fight. He might have spoken in riddles, but when the bell rang, the one constant is that we knew Anderson Silva would be ready to fight 25 hard minutes, if need be.

Now, coming off a loss, he has to answer whether he's gotten old, or bored, or whether the game has caught up with him. Tiger Woods once did things that none of his peers on the PGA Tour could dream of doing. But they studied him, adopted some of his training methods, and eventually closed the gap.

Perhaps he's gotten old, and that's why Weidman was able to catch him when no one else previously was able to do so. That, though, is unlikely. More likely is that he made a minor mistake and didn't see the hook coming until it landed on his chin.

He claims that everything in Saturday's rematch "is going to be different," and it's hard to know if he's referring to the outcome, his style, both or neither.

Silva, though, is a proud man and one can be certain he's not happy seeing that clip of him being knocked out over and over during the UFC's omnipresent television advertisements for the show.

"I don't think I have anything to prove to anyone," Silva said. "But I'm very motivated."

Most likely, Silva is going to fight Weidman on Saturday the same way he fought Leben and Rich Franklin and Dan Henderson and every other middleweight that he thoroughly dominated until he got clipped by that Weidman hook.

Silva suggested he was working on a new plan, but what would be the point of changing something that worked so well for so long?

"Obviously we made a few changes," Silva said. "When you see a mistake, you've got to get back and see where that mistake is and change a few things around. But like I said, that's in the past and everything is going to be different from now on."

Only time will tell. But whether he wins by knockout or loses by knockout, it won't change the fact that Anderson Silva is the greatest fighter of all-time, and will remain so until someone (Jon Jones, perhaps?) puts together a string of impressive wins like Silva once did.

view original article >>
Report here if this news is invalid.

Related News

Inside the impressive career facts and figures for UFC 208 co-headliner Anderson Silva

  • 19 days ago
  • 14 views

Former longtime pound-for-pound king Anderson Silva once again returns to the octagon on Saturday when he takes on Derek Brunson in the UFC 208 co-main event. Get a look at his impressive career numb read news >>

Anderson Silva Wins, Decisions Derek Brunson (UFC 208 Results) | MMAWeekly.com

  • 16 days ago
  • 6 views

Former middleweight champion Anderson Silva picked up his 34th career win on Saturday when he defeated Derek Brunson by unanimous decision at UFC 208. read news >>

UFC 208 results: Anderson Silva gets first win since 2012 with decision over Derek Brunson

  • 16 days ago
  • 9 views

BROOKLYN, N.Y. – In brief flashes, it was the old Anderson Silva in the cage against Derek Brunson, posing and playing, pulling off surprising techniques – and, for the first time since 2012, winning read news >>

Lots of Love for Anderson Silva, Though Many Fighters on Twitter Thought He Lost | MMAWeekly.com

  • 16 days ago
  • 8 views

An emotional Anderson Silva walked out of the Octagon with a victory over Derek Brunson at UFC 208, but many of his peers on Twitter thought he lost. read news >>

Was the Anderson Silva Decision the Right Call? (UFC 208 Fight Highlights) | MMAWeekly.com

  • 16 days ago
  • 23 views

Was the judges' decision correct in the Anderson Silva vs. Derek Brunson fight at UFC 208 in Brooklyn? read news >>

UFC 208 video highlights: Anderson Silva vs. Derek Brunson

  • 16 days ago
  • 15 views

For the first time since 2012 – officially, anyway – the legendary Anderson Silva won a fight. Filed under: News, UFC, Videos read news >>

UFC boss Dana White had Derek Brunson over Anderson Silva in UFC 208 co-main event

  • 16 days ago
  • 21 views

Add UFC President Dana White to the list of people who scored the UFC 208 co-main event for Derek Brunson.Filed under: News, UFC read news >>

'The Spider' to crawl on after UFC 208? Anderson Silva has 'just one thing to say'

  • 15 days ago
  • 46 views

BROOKLYN, N.Y. – It looked like Anderson Silva contemplated retiring in the cage after a controversial decision win over Derek Brunson in UFC 208’s co-headliner. But no, “The Spider” plans to crawl o read news >>

Anderson Silva is Old, Very Old, but He's Not Retiring | MMAWeekly.com

  • 15 days ago
  • 3 views

Anderson Silva readily admits that his years are ratcheting upward, but he's also adamant that he's still not ready to walk away. read news >>

UFC 208: Anderson Silva May Be 'Too Old,' but Being the GOAT Has Its Privileges

  • 15 days ago
  • 8 views

Being Anderson Silva certainly has its privileges. Silva leaned heavily on those privileges at Saturday's UFC 208, coasting through a monotonous three-round fight against the overawed Derek Brunson e read news >>