On Dec. 28, 2013, Anderson Silva will challenge Chris Weidman for the middleweight title at UFC 168. This comes after Weidman defeated Silva by knockout at UFC 162 to dethrone The Spider after a near seven-year reign.
As entertaining a fight as it could be, Silva has nothing to gain from a rematch with Weidman.
Weidman's victory over Silva was not without controversy, as the Brazilian taunted his opponent and continued his less-than-interested approach to his recent fights. This time around, however, Silva picked the wrong fighter to mess with.
The question on everyone's mind is simple: Which Silva will we see? Will it be the champion that ruled over the UFC for the better part of a decade, or the fighter who doesn't have an ounce of care remaining in his body?
Coming off of the first loss of his UFC career, we'll put our money on the former—even if it doesn't impact his legacy.
If Weidman is to defeat Silva in a second consecutive fight, he will inevitably become one of the most respected fighters in the world. If Silva wins his title back from Weidman, then there will be a different effect.
Excuse me, I meant to say that there will be no effect.
Silva is the most accomplished fighter in the history of the UFC. From titles to winning streaks, no fighter has been able to achieve what Silva has.
Jon Jones and Weidman's respective rises to fame doesn't change that.
Silva spent seven years in the UFC before losing a fight, holding the middleweight title for 2,457 total days. In that time, he's picked up a record 12 post-fight awards, including a UFC-best seven Knockout of the Night honors.
Plain and simple, there isn't anything left for Silva to achieve.
If he's to lose to Weidman, then some will jump to conclusions and label him as a humanized fighter. The truth of the matter is, Silva has dominated the sport for so long that losses at this stage of his career have no impact on his legacy.
After all, he is 38.
38 Years Old
The UFC has seen countless legendary fighters, ranging from Royce Gracie and Matt Hughes to Georges St. Pierre and B.J. Penn. They also have fighters on the rise, with the likes of Jon Jones and Chris Weidman taking the MMA world by storm.
At the age of 38, no fan would use their fight results as the definition of their respective legacies—so why should we use that logic with Silva?
Silva isn't a fighter in his prime, but instead one that is more than five years removed from his athletic peak. Even still, he's dominated the UFC for more than seven calendar years, defeating everyone who stepped in his path.
At the age of 38, it's hardly surprising that Silva finally met his match.
This is not an indictment of Silva's legacy as something less than legendary, but instead a sign that Weidman has arrived. While fighting this rematch makes sense based off of the fact that Silva is the ex-champion, there's nothing for Silva to gain.
One way or another, he remains the most dominant fighter in the history of the UFC.