Anderson Silva’s loss at UFC 162 has writers, fans and fighters in a tailspin. The shocking conclusion to a night of enjoyable performances across the board eclipsed everything that came before it. Applauding Tim Kennedy’s defensive jujitsu against one of the greatest Brazilian jujitsu (BJJ) practitioners in the world, remarking how weak NCAA Wrestling National Champion Mark Munoz’s double-leg defense was at the beginning of his fight, or noting several other key points prior to the main event is difficult to do on the same night that the greatest mixed martial artist ever ended his incredible win streak.
In the immediate aftermath of Silva’s second-round KO at the hands of Chris Weidman, there was a deluge of comments across the various forms of social media. As shocking as some comments were, like that the fight proved that Anderson Silva was overrated or that he simply grew old overnight, the comparisons of the night’s results to boxing were equally surprising and more misguided.
The presence of former pound-for-pound boxing virtuoso Roy Jones Jr. at ringside seems to have had much to do with the ill-conceived comparisons. Leading up to UFC 162, Dana White and Anderson Silva had started the promotional machine on a potential match-up with Jones. As enticing as that fight was for many, to this writer, it was a match-up at least five years, if not a decade, too late. Jones is a shell of his former greatness, and with the superlative punching and head movement Silva displayed in recent fights against Stephan Bonnar, Yushin Okami and Forrest Griffin, a fight against Jones seemed a recipe for disaster for the boxing legend. The Jones that KO’d Montell Griffin, however, would have eviscerated Silva at any age in a boxing ring.
Nonetheless, Jones’s presence at ringside had several comparing Silva’s loss to Jones’s own knockout loss to Antonio Tarver in 2004. Those people need to check their facts and the tape. Jones was knocked out with a counter left hand after a brief exchange. Jones wasn’t showboating in any manner resembling Silva. More importantly, Jones’s loss occurred within the context of a severe weight cut.
Only six months earlier Jones had beaten Tarver in a difficult fight, Jones’s first since engaging in the unique mission of becoming the first middleweight in over a century, and the only super-welterweight (154lbs), to also win the heavyweight crown. Jones accomplished his mission but only after gaining nearly 30 pounds of muscle to compete against WBA Heavyweight Champion John Ruiz. Jones was never the same after cutting the weight to make the light heavyweight limit to face Tarver. Silva gave up his chin (and the resulting KO) to Weidman, while Tarver brutally took what remained of Jones’s greatness after his radical shift in body weight.
A much better cross-sport comment from the Twittersphere was that Silva’s loss exponentially increased interest in Mayweather vs. Canelo. For crossover fans, or casual viewers, Silva’s emphatic defeat is a reminder that in the fight game no one is infallible and on a given night even living legends can come up short. But let’s be clear, if Mayweather were to lose, or dare I say get knocked out, you can be sure it won’t be for the reason Silva was dethroned. Despite Mayweather’s well-documented antics outside the ring, he’s never demonstrated the defensive carelessness Silva has repeatedly engaged in inside the Octagon throughout his career.
Even with a tight defense like Mayweather’s, he can still be hit and, therefore, knocked out. It’s all possible inside the ring. That goes two or threefold for those brave, or foolish, enough to walk into a fight hands down. “He got clipped,” Dana White said of Silva at the post-fight press conference. It’s as simple as that. On any given night anyone can have his or her lights turned out. When the rematch happens, I have little doubt that Silva will do everything in his power to avoid a repeat of the night’s ending, including employing such ordinary techniques as fighting with his hands up.
Even though it’s difficult to talk about anything but Silva’s loss, following are the highlights of the fights from earlier in the night.
A former college wrestler, Taekwondo black-belt, and wannabe boxer, Paul Navarro (aka Fight Like Sugar) is now a full-time lawyer, part-time fight scribe, and high school wrestling coach.