LAS VEGAS -- Anderson Silva might have won the fight, but Nick Diaz definitely dominated the troll game.
Silva has been known throughout his career for clowning his opponents, dropping his hands and begging his foes to hit him in the mouth. It's what got Silva caught when he lost the UFC middleweight title to Chris Weidman at UFC 162 in July 2013.
However, Diaz definitely out-taunted the master Saturday night in Silva's unanimous decision victory at UFC 183 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena.
In the first round, Diaz talked to Silva the entire time. At one point, Diaz laid down on the ground out of nowhere. Seconds later, he put his back against the cage and summoned Silva in. Then, inexplicably, Diaz turned his back and essentially shook his butt at the greatest UFC champion of all time.
The whole thing was bizarre and yet kind of fitting for the two men.
"Let's go, come get you some," Diaz said he was telling Silva during the fight.
Diaz, the former Strikeforce welterweight champion, believed he won the bout, because he was the aggressor throughout. Silva's game, though, has always been predicated on counterpunching. And it was that way Saturday night, even if the clowning aspect was missing. "The Spider" probably knew he didn't have to taunt to get Diaz to move forward. That's just what Diaz does.
"I wasn't playing at any moment," Silva said. "I was serious and that's what you saw."
Diaz was serious, too. Serious about talking trash, that is. He didn't do any of it before the fight (which he thought might have affected the outcome), but he was the same old Diaz inside the Octagon.
"I'm gonna talk my talk, I'm gonna walk my walk," Diaz told Joe Rogan afterward. "I think we put on a great show."
Silva didn't seem to feel disrespected. He knew exactly what he was getting with Diaz. This is the kind of stuff he signed up for. Afterward, Silva asked the pro-Brazilian crowd not to boo Diaz.
"Nick is the great show," Silva said. "I'm the great show. This is for the people. Nick is not a bad man."
He didn't have a bad performance, either. Even if Silva just about won every round, Diaz wasn't far off. This was no blowout.
Despite the uncharacteristic lead up to the bout, Diaz returned to form in the Octagon with his talking. No middle fingers were put up, but Diaz did at one point put his chin out for Silva to hit. "The Spider" didn't take the bait. And, then of course, there was that wild first round that won't be forgotten any time soon by fans.
"You see me out here, I didn't try to intimidate this dude or anything like that leading up to the fight," Diaz said. "Maybe that could have won me the fight. He stayed the hell away from me the first round when I came out and flipped the switch on."