If you are, like myself, a frequenter of MMA message boards you will have no doubt seen much in the way of debate for the past year about Chris Weidman’s chances against the long-time Middleweight kingpin Anderson Silva. There are many who see the New Jersey man, 29, as being the first UFC fighter to finally solve the intricate puzzle that is the Spider. Their argument (made with varying degrees of competence depending upon which site you favour…) will more than likely revolve around whether or not Silva can deal with Weidman’s takedowns and his impressive submission game when on the mat. This combined with Anderson Silva’s unique ability to just… ‘Anderson Silva’ fools has created a great amount of hype around the fight, time will tell if it will appeal to the mythical ‘casual fan’ but the scrap certainly has most of the hard-cores hooked in, waiting anxiously for Bruce Buffer to do his little jig on July 6th at UFC 162 so we can finally see how this plays out.
However, oddly for a big title fight with a lot of hype amongst the media, neither of the fighters have a huge amount to gain from winning this. I know, I know, that sounds ludicrous to say, but hear me out. If Weidman wins much of the talk will revolve around Silva’s age, about how, at 38, father time has robbed him of the gifts that made him such a force, and if Silva wins much of the talk will be about how ‘Weidman wasn’t that good anyway’ or his long lay-off and the shoulder surgery he undertook during that time. Whichever way you spin it the winner of this fight is more likely, despite walking away with the Middleweight strap, to find his own performance overlooked and his opponent’s pre-fight situation to be the main talking point.
I’m not saying that we shouldn’t question whether or not Weidman has the experience or Silva the takedown defence; what I’m saying is that we should appreciate the winner for what they did to win, not what their opponent did to lose. Maybe it’s just the nature of us sports fans, the ‘ah he only lost because he was old’ or ‘but he had a bum knee’ is as old time itself.
Perhaps I’m fretting for nothing – you guys aren’t a bad bunch really – but I just feel that, in this fight, we will either be witnessing the GOAT fending off the toughest challenge of his UFC career or the dawning of a new age in the MW division and it’d be a damned shame to see either man not get the props he deserves.