When a champion the caliber of Anderson Silva goes down in flames, everyone has an opinion.
But when the opinion is that of another fighter that has been considered alongside Silva as one of the greatest pound-for-pound fighters on the planet, people listen.
UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones is such a fighter. He was asked at a press conference in Canada on Tuesday about Silva’s performance against Chris Weidman, and the champion offered a balanced critique.
“I think that Anderson Silva is a magnificent fighter. I think that he has an extraordinary gift,” Jones began. “I think that he’s gotten to the point where he really believes in his gift, he’s comfortable with his gift, and he abused his gift.
“He disrespected his gift by disrespecting his opponent. Martial arts is hugely a sport that is based on honor and integrity and treating people with respect and he somehow lost sight of that. He paid quite the price for it.”
Weidman took the fight to Silva almost immediately when they stepped in the Octagon at UFC 162 on Saturday night in Las Vegas. He put the champion on his back, ground and pounded him, and attacked with risky submissions.
Silva weathered the storm and brought the fight back to standing, but once there, he started taunting and challenging Weidman, slapping his own face and dropping his hands, daring Weidman to engage.
Silva continued with this approach in the second round, but this time Weidman obliged, hitting Silva with a couple left hooks, the second of which sent Silva reeling.
Weidman immediately pounced, connecting with a few more punches before the fight was stopped, and a new champion crowned.
Many people, especially his peers, believed Weidman had the skillset to defeat Anderson Silva, but not many believed it would be in such dramatic fashion.
“I predict Chris Weidman was going to win, but I didn’t think he was going to win the way that he won,” UFC welterweight champion and Weidman training partner Georges St-Pierre told PokerListings.com on Sunday.
“I thought he was going to win on the ground with ground and pound or maybe some submission, and he won with a beautiful knockout standing up.”
St-Pierre, however, still designated Silva the greatest fighter of all time. Jones felt much the same way.
“I’m not over the Anderson Silva hype train. I know exactly where he’s at. You can tell where he’s at by the way he’s fighting. I think he’s fighting at a masterful level. I think he just got disrespectful and the war gods just made him pay for it. He’s still that great Anderson Silva in my book.”