Anderson Silva held the UFC middleweight title for almost seven years. | Photo: Dave Mandel/Sherdog.com
Anderson Silva kept a stranglehold on the Ultimate Fighting Championship middleweight crown for nearly seven years. Even so, some question whether or not he deserves an immediate rematch with the man who took it from him.
“The Spider” will look to reclaim 185-pound gold when he challenges Chris Weidman for the middleweight title in the UFC 168 main event on Dec. 28 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. Weidman knocked out Silva with a left hook and follow-up punches at UFC 162 in July, ending his reign atop the division in startling fashion.
Many view Silva as the greatest mixed martial artist of all-time. The 38-year-old Brazilian won his first 16 bouts in the UFC, capturing the middleweight championship with a brutal knockout against Rich Franklin in October 2006. Silva defended the title a record 10 times, leaving Franklin, Nate Marquardt, Dan Henderson, Patrick Cote, Thales Leites, Demian Maia, Chael Sonnen (twice), Vitor Belfort and Yushin Okami in his wake.
Spawned by the Serra-Longo Fight Team, Weidman has won his first 10 professional bouts, six of them in the UFC. He was a four-time collegiate wrestling All-American at Nassau Community College and Hofstra University before transitioning to MMA under the guidance of former UFC welterweight champion Matt Serra and striking coach Ray Longo. Weidman, 29, holds the rank of brown belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu and rose quickly through the 185-pound division, backed by a potent ground game and improving standup.
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