UFC 162 went down last night, and the card will go down in history as Chris Weidman knocked out legendary long time champion Anderson Silva in resounding fashion. The fact is that Weidman expressed confidence throughout the build up to the fight, and he experienced a ground swell of support that saw many insiders and fans give him a chance to unseat Silva. And then Weidman went out and did exactly what he said he was going to do, and for that he deserves massive amounts of credit. So what is next in the UFC’s Middleweight division?
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Most of what happens next will depend on the notoriously moody former champion in Silva. Post fight, Silva stated that he was not eager for a rematch. That is a big positive for the entire Middleweight division, however should he change his mind and elect to ask for a rematch, his history and status will assure he gets it, but that would just prolong the inevitable.
As for Weidman, he will await Silva’s decision, but the UFC needs to get him back into the ring as fast as possible. The top 2 contenders in the division, Vitor Belfort and Yushin Okami, both suffered from the ‘Silva Effect’ – that is, they both lost to the former champion and no one was interested in a rematch.
With Okami booked to face the dangerous ‘Jacare’ Souza in September, it leaves Belfort as the logical first fight up for Weidman. Belfort had been lobbying for a title shot before the fight, and he will likely ratchet up the rhetoric in the hopes of being Weidman’s first defense.
This fight should suit Weidman just fine, as Belfort would represent another legendary Brazilian fighter whose dispatching would add to Weiman’s legacy pretty quickly. If Souza happens to beat Okami, he will likely get the next shot, which could put a whole new spin for Weidman on the old ‘Brazilian Killer’ nickname.
Belfort will be a rugged test for Weidman, as unlike Silva, Belfort will play it safe until he sees an opening, and then his hands will always be dangerous. it will be urgent for Weidman to get Belfort to the ground, but Belfort would be a considerable challenge for the new champion. Where the lines open is anybody’s guess.