Former Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Middleweight champion Anderson Silva had long carried the aura of being untouchable and unbeatable.
Invincible, if you will.
Running roughshod over the 185-pound division for seven years, defeating the likes of Dan Henderson, Vitor Belfort, Rich Franklin and Chael Sonnen, among many others, while setting UFC records left and right, will do that for a mixed martial arts (MMA) reputation.
That, however, all went away when Chris Weidman emphatically knocked out in the second round of their UFC 162 title fight last July in Las Vegas, Nevada, ending his reign atop the 185-pound mountain.
And perhaps the reason Weidman was able to do what 14 UFC veterans before him couldn't was in large part to the fact that "All American" didn't see "The Spider" as a "mythical creature" who had the ability to defeat more than one guy at a time.
To Weidman, Silva was -- and still is -- just another fellow human. One who he proved he's better than, which he emphasized in the upcoming issue of Fighters Only Magazine (via Sherdog):
"So many people build Anderson up and he's almost thought of as this mythical creature. That he could beat six guys at once, and he could knock me out any time he wants to. People really have these crazy thoughts about him, they actually think he's, like, beyond great. But, to me he's only ever just been another human guy, and one that I think I'm better than."
After his loss to "All American," Silva declared he had no interest in a rematch. But, after having a few days to reflect, "The Spider" had a change of heart and signed on the dotted line for another "Sin City" showdown against the undefeated champion at UFC 168 on Dec. 28, 2013.
Something Weidman new would eventually happen despite the Brazilian's initial hesitation:
"He has to fight me to get himself back on track, and I knew he wasn't going to retire, so, yeah, his only option is to have the rematch. Once he took a couple of days and started thinking straight again, it was inevitable we were going to agree to a second fight. And I know he'll come back stronger, better and more determined to beat me, but I'll be ready for that."
And, while many in the MMA community blamed Silva's knockout loss to his preference to showboat, Team Weidman attributes it to nothing but good old fashioned hard work and skill.
Well, that and their refusal to believe in "superheroes" and "mythical creatures."