When Anderson Silva snapped his leg across Chris Weidman's shinbone on a cold December night 13 months ago, it felt like the final chapter of a legend. The dual fracture Silva suffered at UFC 168 appeared destined to go down as the cruelest possible ending for one of the sport's most storied careers, only Silva never listened. Instead, at age 39, Silva completed as remarkable and unlikely of a comeback as we've ever seen, returning this past Saturday to outpoint Nick Diaz and score an emotional decision win in the main event of UFC 183.
After all the tears had been shed and wishes of gratitude said, Silva was noncommittal about his fighting future, offering only a vague indication that any decision would made with the help of his family. And while Weidman doesn't have a horse in this race, he hopes that with the ghosts of Silva's broken leg finally put to rest, Silva allows himself to walk away from the sport with his head held high, avoiding the disastrous exits that have befallen so many pugilistic icons of the past.
"Being the champion, I know this ends up going further than I'd even want my comments to go, because my opinion, I don't think, really matters that much and I don't want it to weigh on him at all," Weidman said on Monday's edition of The MMA Hour. "But me as a fan, if I'm just a normal person, I want to see him done.
"As Chris Weidman, as me, it's a big money fight, a third fight eventually. But I'd really just like to see him retire. I think he's got a great family, he's got five kids, he's made a lot of money, he has a great legacy. He just won a fight. I wouldn't mind seeing him retire on a ‘W'."
While it seems somewhat unbelievable, Silva's victory over Diaz at UFC 183 was actually the Brazilian's first win in 840 days, harkening back to Silva's infamous first-round styling over Stephan Bonnar. On Saturday that familiar Silva bravura was on full display, if only in spurts, as the former middleweight champion glided across the Octagon and battered the left side of Diaz's face and body, leaving a smattering of giant welts on Diaz's ribs and a set of stitches adorning his left eye.
It wasn't Silva's most impressive performance, and Diaz's ever-present theatrics gave the spectacle an air of the absurd, but a win is still a win, and Silva collapsed sobbing to the canvas after the judges scores were read in his favor. The fight itself, though, did little to set up a potential Silva-Weidman trilogy, and that fact is not one lost on the current UFC champ.
"It was a very weird fight," Weidman said. "I have a lot of respect for both fighters, especially Anderson, fighting him twice. I've actually grown to respect Anderson even more. I spoke to him a couple times at The Time is Now event and I think he really has grown as a person. He's a likable guy, he really has become a family guy, more spiritual. I think he's just really grown as a person, so I have a lot of respect for him.
"In the fight, you know, I'm happy that he came back. He was healthy, he was able to go out there and get a W. But do I think he looked impressive? No. I don't think he's what everybody thought Anderson would look like and what he could do to Nick Diaz. There was a lot going against him with the leg injury, it didn't seem like he was kicking the legs as much as he usually could. But, you know, I don't know. I don't think he deserves a title shot. There's a lot of other guys that I think are better than him right now."