Anderson Silva lost his middleweight title when he was knocked out by Chris Weidman at UFC 162. Due to the nature of Silva's loss and his legendary reputation, the Brazilian was granted with an immediate rematch but lost in the most devastating fashion. "The All-American" shattered Silva's leg when he checked a low kick in the 2nd round, almost ending Silva's career.
Yet, despite two brutal back-to-back losses, "The Spider" has the utmost respect for Weidman and believes he deserves the rematch against Rockhold at UFC 199.
"I think it's fair," Silva told Passando a Guarda (h/t Guilherme Cruz of MMA Fighting). "He was the champion, had good wins on his last fights, defeated tough opponents, and deserves respect from everyone, especially the other middleweights. He deserves this immediate rematch against Rockhold."
The middleweight championship rematch was announced on Wednesday by UFC president Dana White. Rockhold vs. Weidman II is slated for UFC 199 in June.
Weidman, 31, was violently dethroned by Rockhold after a back and forth fight in December. It marked the first loss of his professional MMA career and the Serra-Longo product says the loss has motivated him more than ever to bounce back.
Silva enjoyed the fight and credits Rockhold for his stellar performance.
"It was an interesting fight," Silva said. "Luke put some pressure that Weidman wasn't used to. We haven't seen him fight five rounds with quality. It's hard to talk about this fight or criticize Weidman or Rockhold. They are both great fighters.
"Weidman had the opportunity to prove why he was the champion, and Rockhold proved why he's the new champion. He was better prepared and surprised Weidman. Weidman is a great fighter with good jiu-jitsu and a modest striking, but Rockhold put some pressure and won with his persistence, cardio and technique."
The former middleweight champion expects Weidman to learn from the loss and put up a better fight in June.
"It's a tough, tough fight," Silva said. "I believe Weidman will train the things he did wrong in the last fight, and it's going to be a tougher fight for Rockhold."
Silva will return to action after serving his one-year suspension for a failed drug test at UFC 183. The 40-year-old tested positive for steroids and his win over Nick Diaz was overturned to a No Contest. Silva will take on Michael Bisping later this month on February 27th at UFC Fight Night 84 in London, England.