Albert Einstein defined insanity as “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”
Call it a hunch, but history’s most well-known physicist probably wasn’t thinking about mixed martial arts when he said that. But if Einstein saw the treatment from many circles toward UFC middleweight champion Chris Weidman, he might have found a new way to maintain relevancy in the modern age beyond just making funny faces on t-shirts and posters.
Weidman was emphatically triumphant at UFC 187 over Vitor Belfort, notching his fourth consecutive victory over a Brazilian legend by surviving an onslaught by Belfort early in the first round before securing a takedown and pounding Belfort into an early finish.
After his victory, Weidman finally unleashed seemingly years of frustration over being looked at as a “fluke” champion by vehemently telling his skeptics to “stop doubting me!” and telling MMA fans all over the world to “join his team.”
Weidman’s frustration is understandable. Although he’s defeated Anderson Silva — a man once thought unbeatable — twice, and went toe-to-toe with former light heavyweight champion Lyoto Machida for five rounds, Weidman was still seen going into his fight against Belfort as a champion who earned his belt through luck instead of skill.
That is a laughable position to take, honestly. Let me repeat myself again, in case you missed it earlier: Weidman beat Anderson Silva twice. The same Silva who held the middleweight title, didn’t lose for nearly seven years and, until recently, was considered the greatest MMA fighter of all time. Weidman was seen as lucky to defeat Silva for the belt because Silva was “clowning” him during their first fight, dropping his hands and mocking Weidman for trying to engage with him before eating an alleged “lucky” punch from Weidman.
But guess what? That wasn’t the first time Silva openly mocked his opponent during a fight. He did the same thing to guys like Thales Leites, Demian Maia and Forrest Griffin. None of those guys were able to make Silva pay for his mistake. Weidman did. Is that really luck? Or was someone finally not scared of Silva and not falling for his tricks? That’s not luck. That’s smart fight strategy.
Weidman’s victory over Silva in the rematch was also seen as a fluke because Silva suffered a broken leg on a checked leg kick in the second round. However, Weidman clearly won the first round and looked to be on his way to a successful title defense. Plus, injuries happen in all sports. That doesn’t diminish Weidman’s accomplishments.
If any doubts remained as to whether Weidman was a legitimate champion, they were erased after he dominated Belfort, who himself was coming off three consecutive highlight-reel knockout victories. Weidman weathered Belfort’s onslaught and, with the way he finished the fight, clearly established himself as the best middleweight fighter in the world.
I’ve been a believer in Weidman since his victory for the belt over Silva. And, you know what? There’s still room for you on the Weidman bandwagon, too.