The win was validating for Weidman, who has been harshly criticized by MMA fans for the lack of experience in his twelve fights and “fluke” victories over Anderson Silva, the first caused by Silva foolishly dropping his hands and taunting Weidman before being knocked out and the second by leg injury.
No one can even attempt to falsify Weidman now — he is a real champion.
However, Machida flustered and, at times, stunned a lethargic Weidman as he tired through the distance, and showed some weaknesses. Vacillation remains, but no one can say that Weidman isn’t the best Middleweight mixed martial artist on the planet.
For the next step, Weidman has a mishmash of names on the table. The ripe 30-year-old would be expected to perform, as he has outdone himself each and every time.
He could go up against Vitor Belfort, another Brazilian with ferocious power. Belfort, a former TRT user, is struggling with licensing, especially in the United States, and due to these extenuating circumstances, saw a fight with Weidman cancelled earlier in 2014.
With this additional time to build anticipation, a match with Belfort would be as awe ensuing as ever, but in a Middleweight division piled high with talent. That is not the only option for Weidman. Luke Rockhold, Gegard Mousasi, Tim Kennedy, CB Dollaway, and “Jacare” Souza lurk at 185lbs.
Lyoto Machida has had an illustrious MMA career, with many claims to fame. A defeat at this time may be an impasse for any future championship outs, but, still, an unconventional yet lethal striker, Machida can continue to do what he does best — break faces and hearts — at age 35.
These men gave us some terrific Saturday Night UFC thrills, and perhaps saved a show which struggled to hold the bar of a typical Pay-Per-View event, and, for that reason, we will hopefully, and almost certainly see both again soon.