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2014 Will Be The Year of the Middleweights

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 2013 has been weird. Really weird. We are going to focus on the champions (one former champ in particular) over the next few hundred words.

That former champion is one Anderson Silva, a guy who before July of last year seemed absolutely unbeatable. There were people who put their bets on Weidman but come on, we’re talking about Anderson Silva, no way he loses to a 9-0 prospect.

Well that was UFC 162 and Chris Weidman became the man to dethrone Silva in one of the most bizarre looking fights we’ve ever seen. Silva danced around and ate shots on purpose until Weidman planted one on him that did serious damage and knocked Silva out cold.

Five months later, Weidman retained his belt in another bizarre fashion as Silva snapped his leg over Weidman’s leg. This leaves his future up in the air as his broken leg stands as an unfortunate metaphor for his title campaign to regain gold.

Still, Weidman is given little credit for two straight wins over the greatest fighter of all time. The first is often tied to the word ‘fluke’ while the second is dubbed a stroke of luck given that Silva broke his leg on a kick that he threw.

Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images
Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

Could you imagine an Anderson Silva who defeated the unbeaten Chris Weidman at UFC 162 though?

How would the middleweight title picture be different?

The first glaring difference would be the main event of UFC 168. Chris Weidman would not have been given a rematch. This opens the door for Vitor Belfort who would have most likely been the next challenger anyway.

In reality, Weidman will fight Belfort next and he recently opened up as a 2-to-1 favorite over Belfort. In this fantasy world, Silva would have beaten Weidman and would have opened a much bigger favorite over Belfort with a broken leg being a out of the question barring another freak injury.

This scenario throws Weidman in to the shark-infested waters. His biggest win before Silva was over Mark Munoz and while that was dominant, he hasn’t yet fought the likes of a ‘Jacare’ Souza or Lyoto Machida to legitimize himself in the top-5.

Regardless of who wins between Silva and Belfort in their second match, Weidman loses his aura that now surrounds him after defeating Silva.

This would also make a Chris Weidman, who needed no help in getting motivated in the second Silva fight, become a fighter on a mission to never lose again. Couple that with the rock-hard fortitude that he possesses and he just may walk back to the top.

Lets pump the brakes on any title picture with Silva in it with a win over Weidman at UFC 162. I’d be hard-pressed to find a majority of people who think Silva finishes that 10-fight contract with a win. He was already unmotivated to defend against Weidman after his years of dominance and may just not want to fight Belfort again no matter how good he is now that he’s been ‘reborn’.

Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images
Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

After Belfort he just gets to wait and twiddle his deadly thumbs until the next challenger as he rinses and repeats his way to more fights that he expects himself to win as the motivation pours out of him like a spilt glass.

A Weidman loss would be interesting but perhaps the fact that Silva is off his throne will make the middleweight division the most exciting in the UFC. If he returns, then picture him headlining a card as he fights a non-title middleweight bout. That fight on a free card breaks viewership records on any network.

Now a new champion wants to go on a Jon Jones-esque run through the proverbial gaunlet of killers and at middleweight in 2014, there will be plenty of them. This will be the year of the middleweights, mark my words.

The next UFC fight card features two middleweights in the main event of UFC Fight Night 35. Luke Rockhold will try and secure his first UFC win against Costa Philippou. Rockhold’s debut was a losing effort to Vitor Belfort while Philippou dropped his last to Carmont.

UFC Fight Night 36 will feature four middleweights who are all in the top-ten (Mousasi is #9 at light-heavyweight).  Jacare Souza takes on Francis Carmont while Lyoto Machida fights Gegard Mousasi.

jacare

Does your head hurt yet?

Think about it.

The Contenders:

Luke Rockhold
Costa Philippou
Vitor Belfort
Ronaldo Souza
Francis Carmont
Lyoto Machida
Michael Bisping