Jul. 7, 2012; Las Vegas, NV, USA; UFC fighter Anderson Silva celebrates after defeating Chael Sonnen during a middleweight bout in UFC 148 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena. Photo: Mark J. Rebilas-US PRESSWIRE
Chris Weidman put on a hell of a performance when he destroyed Mark Munoz during the last UFC on Fuel event. In his success he went from being talked about as someone who would challenge for the title "in the future" to someone many wanted to see in with Anderson Silva right now.
So, when Silva's camp said that they weren't interested in fighting Chris Weidman it led to predictable backlash. Coupled with the camp's desire to not fight Jon Jones, it has some people very upset that Silva is to a point where it's about "protecting his legacy" rather than taking the best available fights.
Except that it's probably got nothing to do with legacy and much more to do with making a lot of money before retiring.
We know that Silva's career is in its final stages. He has already proven that he's the best fighter in the world, his legacy is very secure. At this point it's about getting big fights and maximizing his value.
This leads to the obvious question: If it's about big fights, why turn down Jon Jones?
Because Jones is a giant light heavyweight who would probably beat Silva.
Turning down a fight where Silva would enter the cage at a significant disadvantage makes sense if it's about getting a few big paydays and moving on. Much of Silva's mystique to fans is tied to his 15-0 UFC record. His seeming invincibility is a part of what makes people pay for the pay-per-views that he headlines. Getting ragdolled by a guy who could likely go to heavyweight and make a title run is only going to hurt Silva's value in the fights that follow.
They want the Georges St. Pierre fight because it's the easier fight in their minds. It's a huge selling superfight between two long-time UFC superstar champions that would see Silva as the one who enters at a size advantage.
Of course, putting together that fight when GSP has his hands full with a list of five new top challengers is going to be difficult, so Silva may have to set his sights on other big fights. And those fights are out there.
But right now Silva versus Weidman might as well read "Silva vs. A Guy" on the promotional material for as unknown as Weidman is.
So, what's so wrong with a legend with nothing left to prove looking to end his spectacular career the way he sees fit?