We are just days away from arguably the two most anticipated championship rematches in quite some time.
Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) returns to its home of Las Vegas, Nevada, invading MGM Grand Garden Arena on Saturday night (Dec. 28, 2013) for UFC 168: "Weidman vs. Silva 2."
The main event will see Chris Weidman look for his first successful title defense over the Middleweight legend he knocked out at UFC 162 this past July, Anderson Silva. Dana White is calling this the biggest rematch in UFC history. After Silva clowned Weidman for the first round and tried his luck in the second round of their first encounter, Weidman caught Silva with a left hand that dropped the former champion and a new era had begun.
Can Weidman repeat history?
After a season of turmoil on The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 18, Ronda Rousey will look for her second UFC Women's Bantamweight championship defense over bitter rival Miesha Tate. The eagerness for both of these competitors to inflict pain on one another could not be greater. And Tate certainly still has memories of her first-round armbar loss to Rousey in early 2012 at Strikeforce: "Tate vs. Rousey," which cost her the 135-pound championship crown.
With the majority of this pay-per-view (PPV) card's excitement focused on these two bouts, let us look into the near future and map out what a victory on Saturday night might mean for these four combat sports stars.
Here we go:
The general consensus is that Weidman needs to defeat Silva again to prove the first time was not a fluke. Say what you will, but Weidman -- who deserves full credit for the win -- did not exactly win over fans because Silva's antics overshadowed his win, which is the exact reason most feel he was crowned the new champion.
Apart from Weidman looking for his first-ever title defense, he comes in as an under dog once more in this fight, and he has spoken about respect and his legacy in the media while hyping up this fight.
Even if the finish is important for him, a win alone would see him dethrone a legend for good, leaving no possibility for the naysayers to view his potential victory as problematic.
Weidman would improve to 11-0, and he is entering this fight with four finishes in his past five victories. If doubters feel that the Weidman era did not begin just yet, they will have no choice to believe the truth if the Serra-Longo trained Middleweight repeats history once again.
He also knows that a champion does not always consider himself a true champion until he defends the belt, which is the reason Weidman has more to lose in this fight than his counterpart.
Possibly the greatest fighter of our present era, Silva finds himself with his back against the wall in his second tilt with Weidman, who would like to erase the memory of his second-round knockout loss this past summer.
It will be very interesting to see how Silva approaches this contest, and if it will look anything like his second encounter with Chael Sonnen at UFC 148, where the former champion came out guns blazing and did not fool around one bit.
Forget his past accolades, accomplishments and records -- at 38 years old, Silva needs to win his title back on Saturday night if he would like to return to supremacy. The time is now for him, and with changes to his camp and a new found motivation for their rematch, "The Spider" must win to prove that his title of being the best fighter in the world is still in tact. To his advantage, he could say their first fight was a fluke loss, and that is something he would be able to erase easily if he wins in devastating fashion.
If "The Spider" loses, what happens then?
Whether or not "Rowdy" gained or lost fans while coaching on TUF 18 this past year, she did showcase her hate for her bitter rival and put a ton of pressure on herself to win this championship rematch this upcoming weekend.
Rousey would move to 8-0, and depending on how the fight ends, her victory would be the sweetest one yet for the young Bantamweight fighter.
Having already beaten Tate almost two years ago and snapping her arm in the process, a win for Rousey would not only guarantee her status in the elite of the sport, but she would reign supreme over the entire division with only two successful title defenses.
Indeed, Rousey would be a mountain to climb for her divisional counterparts, who would all have a tough task to strip her of the gold in the future.
For her legacy, the bitter feud, and the sake of women's mixed martial arts (MMA) in the UFC moving forward, a win for Rousey would see her stand above the rest in all three of those categories.
It sounds crazy to believe, yet "Cupcake" could flip the switch in UFC's women's bantamweight division if she topples her rival on Saturday night.
Although Tate seemed more composed on this past season of TUF 18, she wants this win as much as her opponent does. In fact, it feels like the title would come second for Tate.
Having been chosen to coach alongside Rousey after Cat Zingano had to withdraw because of injury, Tate would love nothing more than to avenge her loss to Rousey in Strikeforce, and show that she is a different and improved fighter coming into the rematch. Being 1-2 in her last three fights, Tate has something to prove in this fight to show everyone that she deserved a legitimate second chance against her enemy.
For the sake of the feud, Tate would come out on top and even if they meet for a third time, Tate would steal Rousey's mass appeal in the process. If Rousey has the looks to grace magazine covers, star in acting roles, and become one of the faces of women's MMA, Tate could already be halfway there.
For more on the upcoming UFC 168: "Weidman vs. Silva 2" event be sure to check out our complete event archive right here.