When Anderson Silva made his Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) debut at UFC Fight Night 5, way back in June 2006 at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada, he needed just 49 seconds to steal Chris Leben's soul.
Following the "Crippler's" cessation, UFC color commentator Joe Rogan informed viewers that they had witnessed a "different kind of striker."
He wasn't kidding.
Silva has always been a showman, evidenced by his walkout at PRIDE 21 exactly four years before his Octagon debut. Heading out to face Alex Stiebling -- who ironically was nicknamed "The Brazilian Killa" prior to getting bitten by "The Spider" -- Silva danced and pranced his way to the ring like Michael Jackson.
Then he took Stiebling's face and beat it.
UFC fans didn't get to see much of Silva's tomfoolery in the early days. Travis Lutter and Dan Henderson took him to the ground, James Irvin was asleep in 60 seconds and Rich Franklin, well, poor "Ace" was in the wrong place at the wrong time, career-wise.
It wasn't until the Patrick Cote fight when things started to turn sour.
Pundits speculated that Silva was having an off night, or perhaps needed a few minutes to warm up the engine. Then came the worst possible follow-up fight, a five-round snoozer against a petrified Thales Leites, who did so many suicide flips in their UFC 97 title fight, he was given an honorary puffy vest from the Canadian Breakdancers Association.
Sounded good in theory.
Silva toyed with Griffin before killing him with a fade-away jab. He then returned to his own division and made a fool out of himself -- as well as the promotion -- by acting like a total jackass in the UFC 112 headliner opposite Demian Maia in Abu Dhabi. Impossible to fathom, he was on the verge of being released.
White referred to it as a "low point" in the promotion's history.
A pair of wins against the wrestling-based offense of Chael Sonnen -- sandwiched around quick finishes over Vitor Belfort and Yushin Okami -- kept his shenanigans at bay; however, another trip up to light heavyweight against Stephan Bonnar found him back in form.
Taunting, dropping his hands low and to the chagrin of haters worldwide, winning.
Despite an incredible 16-straight wins inside the Octagon, his flamboyance was starting to try the patience of the mixed martial arts (MMA) community, including fellow Brazilians like Renzo Gracie, who accused the showboating Silva of being disrespectful.
Chris Weidman was aware of "The Spider's" web.
In fact, the "All American" lauded his UFC 162 opponent for being able to mentally break most fighters before they ever stepped foot inside the cage. And those who remained steadfast prior to fight night, usually crumbled when the Brazilian laughed off their feeble attacks.
Not this time.
As skilled a fighter as he is, Weidman has an otherworldly belief in himself, as well as his abilities. Part of that has to do with his unblemished record, but mostly he's just the type of combatant who can't be shaken (or stirred). That meant Silva had to fight to win.
Instead, the man who held the UFC middleweight title for nearly seven years, was on a fool's errand. Silva defended the strap against Weidman in the UFC 162 main event back in July and in the process, tried to rattle his opponent's cage by waving his arms, playing possum and dancing around the cage.
Then, he got KTFO.
Weidman did what he promised to do and that's press forward and throw bombs. Because Silva was too busy clowning around and not fighting like his title was on the line, one of them slipped through and punched his ticket to dreamland. In the process, the "All American" exorcised the demons that haunted those who came before him, including Bonnar, Griffin and Maia.
In short, Silva got his comeuppance.
But the fact that his gameplan was "act like a jackass and see what happens" does not change the fact that he is immensely talented and still capable of beating any 185-pounder in the world, even at the age of 38. So that makes "Weidman vs. Silva 2" at UFC 168 on Dec. 28 in "Sin City" all the more intriguing.
Did Silva lose because he was playing the fool, or because Weidman is the superior fighter?
We'll find out a week from Saturday night.