The year 2013 brought with it an influx of bright prospects, fading champions, broken dreams, and the dreaded UFC pink slip. It was the year where anything can happen and certainly, anything surely did. As fans, we saw that even the great Anderson Silva is indeed human, Jon Jones was tested to his limits, long time welterweight kingpin Georges St. Pierre was beaten down by a surging contender, and once touted "best Asian MMA fighter" Yushin Okami let go from the ranks of the UFC.
We all thought (myself included) Anderson Silva would remain undefeated in his UFC tenure. We laughed off his wins against Maia and Leites, simply for thought that they were unworthy to stand and trade shots with the great one. We bit our nails down to the nub as we watched Uncle Chael beat the champ down for 4 1/2 rounds until the grace saving hail mary triangle. And then came one Chris Weidman. Right from the bat, the news outlets decided that Weidman would be the one to kill the king. He had the gameplan of taking the champ down and pounding out a grinding decision for the win via Sonnen. He had the ground capabilities to even submit "The Spider". We laughed at the idea that someone so green as Weidman can walk in and take a belt that has been around the waist of the Spider for 7 long years. 9-0 record. No top 10 wins save for a cardio-lacking and depressed Mark Munoz. This was the man who was to usher in a new Era? Nonsense! Our mistake. Weidman showed the world, even the P4P king can be brought to his knees with one left hook.
Jon "Bones" Jones. This is the name synonymous to greatness within the famed Light Heavyweight Division. He played with former champions and made them appear as if they were mere newbies. Machida dropped like a bag of rice, Shogun tapping to strikes after an arena shaking combo of knees and punches, Rampage Jackson getting put to sleep in the 4th, and Sugar getting simply outworked. Enter Alexander Gustafsson. The UFC billed the fight as a man who can match the Champ's reach. What?! Nonsense! Our mistake. Gustafsson took it to the undefeated (I'm sorry Hammil, but you lost) champion and made us remember no one is untouchable. Although Bones didn't lose his belt, many viewers believed he did. If anything, that fight proved that everyone has a weakness.
Surging prospect Erick Silva had a nice streak going coming into the UFC. He was supposed to be the next big thing coming out of Brazil. A debut in 2011 against Luis Ramos saw a 40 second KO. He traded off wins and losses after that but who could blame the kid? He got Fitch'd. He was winning a fight he lost to DQ for punching someone in the back of the head. Whatever, the kid had talent. 2013 saw a beautiful inverted triangle against Jason High and we all thought, the beast is back! Next fight against the Dong? Nonsense! Our mistake. Silva was taken out with a thunderous left followed by a hammerfist reminiscent of Hendo's follow up bomb on Michael Bisbing. Let's call that Silva hypetrain derailed.
2013 was the year of opened eyes. It was the year of controversial calls. It was the year of mistakes. But it's ok. We all make them.