Ari Shaffir is a stand-up comedian and avid MMA fan. Through his friendship with UFC commentator and fellow comic, Joe Rogan, he has been afforded opportunities that very few people, outside of those directly associated with the UFC, will ever have. He has been watching the sport closely for a number of years and believes, like so many others around the world, that Anderson Silva is the undisputed greatest of all time.
In an episode of his podcast, entitled Ari Shaffir's Skeptic Tank, Ari recalled the first time he saw Anderson fight.
He was fighting Chris Leben somewhere in Las Vegas. All I remember is people talking about Chris Leben and how hard he hit. Anderson Silva came in and walloped this guy.
Ari then went on to describe Silva's unparalleled run in the UFC and what it was like to have access to the "back stage world of the Ultimate Fighting Championship," during a time when the sport's greatest fighter was cementing his legacy as the very best to ever do it. He described, in great detail, the first fight between Silva and Sonnen and the mystique surrounding said bout, as well as the lack thereof surrounding the first Weidman fight, in contrast.
It was just a fight that wasn't. Chris Weidman caught him. He caught him flush on the chin and he knocked him out. Anderson Silva's eyes rolled back in his head. And Weidman didn't wait, he jumped on him, and that was it. That was the end of Anderson Silva's run.
As if letting frustration sink in for the first time, or rather realizing the extent of his frustration all over again, Ari continued.
What a sh*tty way for him to lose his title! He didn't even f*cking fight him! He just f*cked around. And people were like 'oh he didn't respect Chris Weidman's punching ability and it cost him.' It wasn't not respecting; it was disrespecting. He was just mocking him openly and not trying to fight.
I want someone to lose evenly; have someone challenge him and beat him. Not someone take advantage of someone who wasn't even fighting.
This rant occurred in the intro to his podcast, and was recorded/released just days after the fight happened. But if you think his response was one fueled by emotion, don't be so sure. We reached out to Ari Shaffir this past week to ask him how he feels about the upcoming rematch between new UFC Middleweight Champion, Chris Weidman, and (it still feels weird to say this) #1 contender, Anderson Silva.
Nothing has changed yet. I think and hope Silva will come out focused, and assuming he does, it should be a lopsided victory.
When asked what he meant by lopsided he responded,
Lopsided means 4 rounds to one or winning two rounds and then finishing it in the third. I doubt I'll ever call any fight for a first round KO. That's too random versus skilled predictions. And beating someone for 5 rounds like Randy (Couture) did to (Tim) Silvia was way more dominant than Junior (Dos Santos) KOing Cain (Velasquez) in the first round.
So it seems Ari Shaffir has his mind made up for the outcome of Saturday's highly anticipated main event, although he did add the caveat of Silva coming out focused. That is the key, after all. I'll be the first to point out that Silva does this sort of thing in all of his fights. He baits fighters into trading with him in a stand up battle, an area where Silva always has an advantage, by dropping his hands and taunting his opponent. But the Weidman fight was different. The taunting was excessive. In the Fight Flashback video that aired on FOX Sports 1 this weekend, you can clearly hear Silva's corner yelling for him to 'be serious.'
The only counterpoint I have against people who say that a focused Anderson Silva will smash Chris Weidman is that we didn't get to see Weidman at his best either. It's true that Silva got caught with a shot. But in the 1st round, Silva was easily dropped and controlled on the ground by Weidman. As much as it was a 'lucky' shot by Weidman, we didn't see any real advantage from Silva in that first fight either. Before that lucky shot, Weidman was ahead in the score cards 10-9. We only have one full round worth of evidence to go off and in that one full round Weidman proved to be better. Or perhaps carrying the G.O.A.T. title affords you a little leverage in the prediction department. BestFightOdds.com currently has Silva as a slight favorite, but the odds are virtually even. So who do you think will win on Saturday? I can't wait to find out.
Oh and in case you were wondering about Ari Shaffir's feelings towards Silva's greatest of all time legacy faltering as a result of his loss to Weidman, he was less than enthused by my question. When asked if he needed to win on Saturday in order to cement himself as the greatest of all time, as opposed to GSP or Jon Jones, he said
Jones? What the f*ck are you talking about? He's had 6 title defenses. One was against a washed up Rampage. One was against a 185er on short notice. One was against a guy coming off a disputed win and a loss both at 185. And one he barely won. I'm a big Jon Jones fan but stop it with the greatest of all time talk.
And if you're wondering if Ari will be in attendance at UFC 168,
I wasn't at the first Silva/Weidman fight. I'll be at the rematch, though. It was the first time I specially asked Rogan to open for him somewhere in at least 5 years.
Well worth breaking the streak.