Things are going to be very different when the UFC 168 fight card reaches the main event.
The last time Anderson Silva was announced as anything but the UFC Middleweight champion was October 14, 2006. That was the night Silva stepped into the Octagon against then champion Rich Franklin. At the time, Silva's record stood at 19-4. That fight would end with the title belt wrapped around Silva's waist.
On December 28, Silva will stand in the Octagon alone, and watch as the lights dim for the walkout of current champion Chris Weidman. And when Bruce Buffer announces Silva as the former UFC middleweight champion, he'll also announce that Silva's record stands at 33-5, while Weidman's will be announced as a perfect 10-0.
Silva's fifth loss came on July 6, when a Weidman left hook found Silva's off button, and sent the Brazilian falling backward to the mat, his unfocused eyes staring at the ceiling of the MGM Grand Garden Arena.
Shortly after the fight was waved off, UFC president Dana White wrapped the middleweight strap around the waist of someone other than Silva for the first time in 11 title fights.
Silva initially claimed that he had no interest in facing Weidman in a rematch, but that stance quickly changed, and the rematch was booked for the UFC's end of year show at the MGM Grand. Yup, the same arena where Silva tasted defeat for the first time in his UFC career.
Weidman, in the midst of preparations for his first title defense, recently revealed his game plan for his rematch with Silva:
I'm telling Anderson Silva my game plan. This is my game plan; I'm going to walk forward, I'm going to put pressure on him, I'm going to cut him off. If he has his hands down, I'm punching him in his face. If he has his hands up, and he's expecting me to punch him in the face, I'm taking him down. I'm not afraid to get hit. I'm going to be walking forward with my chin down, and my teeth gritted. I don't care what he throws at me, I'm going to be there.
Weidman is also aware that without a second victory over the man that is widely considered the greatest mixed martial artist ever, many will see his win at UFC 162 as a fluke:
I have to beat Anderson Silva this next time. I have to solidify my first victory, and solidify myself as a champion by winning again.
UFC 168 will take place on December 28 from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. In addition to the Weidman versus Silva title fight, women's bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey will put her title on the line against former Strikeforce champion Miesha Tate.