No one in their right mind is saying that after Saturday night, though. In a thrilling battle, Weidman got off to a fast start against the former light heavyweight champion, withstood a furious late-round comeback, and retained his championship via unanimous decision in the main event of UFC 175 at the Mandalay Bay Events Center.
The judges' scores were 49-45, 48-47, and 49-46.
"He's as good as I thought," Weidman (12-0) said of Machida. "He's quick, he's tricky in there."
Machida (21-5) attempted to get off to his trademark methodical start, but Weidman did his best to keep Machida from getting into his comfort zone. Weidman threw kicks, landed combos, and pursued Machida when he attempted to scamper to safety.
The second round was similar to the first, but this time Weidman further asserted himself, finishing things off with a takedown in the final minute.
By the third round, the fight seemed to be squarely in Weidman's favor, as he continued to shoot for takedowns and impose his will.
When the bout hit the championship rounds, however, Machida displayed a sense of urgency. The Brazilian started landing body kicks, started in with his trademark in-and-out combos, started to land hard with his strikes. Machida connected with a huge left to the jaw at the horn which rocked Weidman backwards, sealing the round in Machida's favor.
Machida continued to bring the heat in the fifth round. This is where Weidman answered several of the questions which lingered in the leadup to the fight. Does Weidman have a chin? He shook off several of Machida's hardest shots. Does he have heart? He managed to ride out the storm, get his second win, score a takedown with under two minutes left in the fight, and seal his victory.
The challenger finished the bout with one last manic flurry of strikes, which brought the crowd at Mandalay Bay to their feet. But Weidman weathered that, too, as the horn sound and the Long Island native retained his belt.
Asked if he was hurt by Machida during the fight, Weidman said "probably. I don't remember right now. I was in the moment."
For his part, Machida, in defeat, displayed the sense of class which has earned him such a loyal fan following.
"The plan was to keep the fight standing," Machida said. "But he's a true champion, he deserves the title. I'll be back strong."