I know I can't change the world but please, stop comparing Cote and Leites.
It seems it has to be done every time one mention Anderson Silva career. Yes, his two fights prior Forrest Griffin were not total destructions like we're used to from the Spider but the two challengers (and the two fights) were totally different.
UFC 90 - Cote vs Silva
Going into the fight : Patrick Cote might not have been of the same caliber than Franklin, Marquardt or Hendo but he was a serious striker with a 5 win streak (including the TKO title) and a decision loss to Tito Ortiz (on short notice and on a higher weight-class). It's not the first time that a UFC champ was defending against a non-top 5 opponent (ie Tito vs Sinosic, Franklin vs Quarry, Arlovski vs Eilers, etc) but Cote still offered a challenge. He had never been knocked down and had the power to put the Spider to sleep. Sure, you might call him a one dimensional fighter since his ground is not that good but we all know that Silva like to exchange on the feet and that he wouldn't use his BJJ to win this fight.
(animated gifs after the jump)During the fight : Cote was too smart to go Chris Leben on Silva and exchanged cautiously. Still, he pressed forward a lot and for the majority of the fight, Silva was backing down. Part of this seem to be Silva gameplan of taking minimum damage and going into the later rounds. Cote threw a few leg kicks (even after seeing what happened to Irvin) and fired back when Silva punched or kicked him. From the middle of round 2, Cote started wincing a few times as his right knee started giving him problems. Still he kept pressing forward and even threw more leg kicks. At the beginning or round 3, Cote blew his ACL and we'll never know what would have happen.
After the fight : Silva was obviously frustrated and fought 3 more rounds in his locker room (another hint toward his game plan to fight 5 rounds - maybe to train for Roy Jones). Cote got drunk and claimed "he fucked with Silva's head". The fans were rightfully disappointed the fight got stopped in such a way. Even though many claimed that Cote never put Silva in danger, you had to admit that Cote was willing to fight and was following a smart gameplan ("if the fans are booing, you're doing the right thing" - Rashad Evans' boxing coach before the Machida fight).
UFC 97 - Leites vs Silva
Going into the fight : Leites had a 5 win streak including a questionable one over Marquardt. Joe Silva said that he decided to give Leites a title shot after he took an illegal knee and decided to continue fighting (it seems he did so because he was unaware of what was going on). Joe Silva probably thought that if Leites could take such a knee and keep fighting, he would be ready to bring the fight to Silva. Leites, just like Cote, is a one trick-poney but his strength is the ground. Even though the Spider is a legitimate black belt in BJJ and submitted the likes of Travis Luther and Dan Henderson we all knew his gameplan was to keep the fight standing. Even though Thales was not a top 5 WW, he was bringing a new set of skills to test Anderson.
During the fight : Both fighters gameplans were clear but we learned that night that Thales was not even gonna try to engage with Silva. He didn't throw any decent strikes and would flop to the ground in an attempt to lure the spider into his world. He did not even try to close the distance, clinch and pull guard. He simply attempted takedowns from way outside of Silva's range. What resulted was an incredibly boring fight (which I paid $400 to see - if at least Arianny was there it would have been worth it). The only highlights from that fight were a few dance moves from Silva.
After the fight : The fans and the boss were pissed off. Silva lost a few fans and many said he was getting bored. To his defence, Silva said he followed his gameplan and didn't want to run unnecessary risks. The challenger didn't bring the fight to him so all he had to do was win on points. He finally achieved what seemed to be a dream of his : win a decision.
I don't want to start with all the ifs (to quote mmalogic "if my aunt had a dick he would be my uncle) but
1. If Cote's knee hadn't blown out, this would have been a slow yet decent fight with more fireworks to come.
2. If Silva next fight hadn't been Leites, Cote's fight (and accident) wouldn't be brought back on every damn article about Silva.
So please, stop mentioning the two together every time. Cote was ready to fight and ready to exchange. He fought a much better gameplan than Griffin. Thales came in thinking this was a BJJ match.
P.S. I'm still new to that, sorry if my gifs kinda suck.