It was announced on Saturday that Chris Weidman would be defending the middleweight title against Anderson Silva at UFC 168. It’ll be the rematch that everyone is clamoring to see in Las Vegas. The interesting part to this announcement was that it would be happening this year and it’ll be on the same card as Ronda Rousey versus Miesha Tate for the women’s bantamweight title.
The aftermath of the UFC 168 announcement
We’ve already seen how popular Rousey is and how documented her feud is with Tate. They have fought before in Strikeforce and both have criticized each other on numerous occasions. The fight had garnered a lot of excitement towards all MMA fans and it was expected to bring in a substantial buy rate. Now everything changes with Weidman defending his title against Silva on the same night.
There were rumors that it was going to be in December, but it seemed to be that they would have booked it for Super Bowl weekend. There was a lot of interest in having the event in New Jersey, since the Super Bowl is taking place in Met life Stadium in 2014. With Weidman being from New York, it could have meant even more attention towards the fight.
Nevertheless this was a huge announcement and it shows how hungry Silva is. Usually Silva takes a lot of time off in between fights. This may seem like a long time, but with all the huge title fights coming up this was the closest event the fight can take place in. Dana White recognized the magnitude of this fight and wanted to make it as soon as possible without messing with any of the major title fights in the fall
It’s safe to say this could be the biggest UFC pay-per-view of all time. It has two superstars in Anderson Silva and Ronda Rousey. Then you have the new champion in Chris Weidman and Miesha Tate, who is easily the second most popular female fighter in the company. Both fights have compelling story lines and it could only lead to major attention when the event draws near.
The setup to UFC 168 is starting to remind me of UFC 100. At that event, they had two title fights headlining the event. Brock Lesnar faced Frank Mir in a heavyweight title unification bout, while Georges St. Pierre defended his title against Thiago Alves. Lesnar and Mir is still considered to be the most hyped heavyweight fight of all time, while St. Pierre was on his way to becoming the greatest welterweight fighter of all time.
The buy rate was around 1.6 million dollars, which was a testament of how people wanted to see how Lesnar would do in his first title defense and if he can avenge his loss to Mir in a heated feud. Even though Silva and Weidman don’t hate each other, Silva is in that position of where he needs to prove the doubters wrong. Despite having a major fan base, people were disappointed in his last performance and may start having doubts if he can bounce back. The main events of each card have more similarities than you would imagine.
It did surprise me that they decided not to have the fight at Cowboys Stadium. Jerry Jones has wanted to have a UFC event take place at Cowboys Stadium, but Dana White has repeatedly said that he would only do when the time is right. You have to wonder if Silva wins, would he consider having the trilogy fight between Silva and Weidman at Cowboys Stadium. It has to happen there someday and what better man to fight in the main event slot than the greatest fighter of all time.
In the coming months, will see how they book the entire main card. It won’t necessarily affect the pay-per-view buy rate. Still when you look at UFC 100, the main card was filled with great fights. Dan Henderson against Michael Bisping was a huge fight with a lot of animosity coming off the ninth season of the Ultimate Fighter. Then you had a top contender in Jon Fitch facing Paulo Tiago and Japanese legend Yoshihiro Akiyama facing Alan Belcher.
It was an amazing pay-per-view from top to bottom. It was my first time watching a UFC event and I became a fan ever since that day. You might say I’m being biased, but I’d love to see someone disagree and say that UFC 100 wasn’t that great of an event. The buildup was incredible and the fights were mostly very exciting with some nasty finishes.
Even though the card hasn’t been made yet, there is no doubt will see some nasty finishes at UFC 168. This could very well be the biggest pay-per-view in the company’s history with two title fights that people are clamoring to see. It seems like the UFC was long overdue in making a super card, after trying to limit title fights to one per event whether it be on pay-per-view or Fox.
Many people will be looking forward to seeing the training and how Silva conducts himself in interviews. It’s safe to say we’ll see a much more focused and motivated Silva coming into this fight. The last time I’ve seen Silva truly focused and not in a joking manner was against Yushin Okami at UFC 134. He went into that fight wanting to prove a point and he did that by knocking him out in the second round.
As many former champions say, it’s much harder to stay on top rather than getting to the top. You can look at great fighters like Rashad Evans, Forrest Griffin, and Frank Mir among others. They all had short-lived title reigns and have said in the past how tough it is to stay on top. You become a target and that’s what Weidman has become. His first target happens to be the greatest fighter of all time. It’s safe to say the countdown begins now for UFC 168 and it has the potential to be the biggest pay-per-view of all time.