Nothing lasts forever.
Anderson Silva was defeated for the first time in his Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) career, a stunning knockout loss to Chris Weidman in the main event of the UFC 162: "Silva vs. Weidman" pay-per-view (PPV), which took place last Saturday night (July 6, 2013) at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.
The old saying goes, "In order to be the man, you gotta beat the man." Well, for all intents and purposes, Weidman is the man, at least at 185 pounds, but defeating the greatest fighter of all time does not grant you the same distinction. That only comes after creating and maintaining a body of work that is beyond reproach.
To be frank, Weidman has some work to do.
Short term antipathy will gradually give way to long term affinity. Fedor Emelianenko, who carved out one of the best careers in the history of mixed martial arts (MMA), has struggled to regain his footing as one of the heavyweight legends of the game, for no other reason than time -- as well as the fight game -- caught up to him in his thirties.
Silva may not have to endure that level of duplicity.
Aside from being the beneficiary of the UFC marketing machine, Silva's career transcended wins and losses. "Undefeated" and "undisputed" make nice headlines and sound great from the guttural drawl of UFC cageside announcer Bruce Buffer, but it was a long, strange trip.
But we'll start with the numbers anyway.
67.8 percent of significant strikes landed (UFC record)
17 knockdowns (UFC record)
16 consecutive victories (UFC record)
10 consecutive title defenses (UFC record)
11 championship bouts (UFC record)
11 post-fight bonuses (second all time)
16 UFC victories (third all time)
But his was not a legacy defined simply by wins and losses.
Part of what made the Brazilian so interesting is how little we knew about Anderson Silva the person. There were times when he was the ultimate company man, stepping up on short notice -- out of his weight class -- to counter-program competitors (James Irivin, UFC Fight Night 14), or jumping in at the last minute to save troubled fight cards (Stephan Bonnar, UFC 153).
Other times he would threaten retirement to pursue other interests.
And as incredible as it sounds today, there was a point in time when Silva was nearly cut from the promotion altogether, responsible for Dana White's "lowest point" as a promoter. after "fighting like a jackass" against Demian Maia at UFC 112 from Abu Dhabi in early 2010.
And let's not mention the Thales Leites fight.
He managed to win our hearts with a thrilling, come-from-behind victory over Chael Sonnen at UFC 117 -- while simultaneously turning "The American Gangster" into a star -- then answering the critics for that performance by shutting his nemesis down at UFC 148.
Sonnen should be lucky he escaped the Rich Franklin treatment.
"Ace" served as a middleweight commercial until the real show got underway in Oct. 2006. The curtain fell last night in "Sin City," but expect his highlight reels to air in syndication for many years to come. The championship bar has now been set and reigning UFC titleholders like Georges St. Pierre, Ben Henderson and Jon Jones are all trying to catch up.
Chris Weidman may be the new 185-pound champion, and deservedly so, but it still feels like the Anderson Silva era.
For more UFC 162 results, recaps, videos, reactions and other post-fight fallout, check out our "Silva vs. Weidman" live fight stream by clicking here.