Thoughts on Silva vs Weidman and Mental Toughness

Updated: July 9, 2013

By Mr. Twisted


There is a lot of talk that Silva threw the fight or, perhaps more realistically, wanted to lose. For the first of those options, I ask that you please revisit the concept of Occam’s Razor. For the second, we probably will never know — only Anderson Silva himself knows the answer to that.

However, there is a much bigger lesson in that fight that every fighter/competitor/practitioner needs to understand, and that is the mental aspect of this game.

Consider that Anderson Silva’s behavior in the fight was not new. His goading of Weidman had been done in multiple previous fights. The obvious lesson that most will draw from this is that he got caught acting like an idiot and paid for it. While true, there is something much more important here for everyone.

Silva’s tactic of taunting was, just like it had in previous fights, working like a charm. He dropped his hands, daring his opponent to punch him in the face. And, just like in previous fights, his opponent shut down his offense and didn’t know what to do.

At the beginning of the fight, Weidman showed his skill as a wrestler by taking Silva down and controlling him with ground and pound. Silva got up, began his clowning, and Weidman….suddenly stopped being a wrestler. The double-leg was there for the taking, and yet…nothing. He froze, just like many other, previous opponents have done when facing The Spider.

But herein lies the lesson: Weidman went back to his corner and did something that no other of Silva’s opponents have ever done — he got his head right and went back to his game plan. He shook off the nonsense that Silva was throwing at him and remembered what he was; he remembered that he was a fighter.

This is no small feat, especially at this level. To overcome a mental block like that is the sign of a true champion; to have a man like Silva displaying complete and utter confidence that he can’t be touched right in front of you is not a small thing. But Weidman did exactly that. He refused to be mentally bested and pushed the pace like he has been known to do; he went back to being what got him there in the first place.

No, I don’t think Silva threw the fight. That can, as mentioned earlier, be summarized quite easily. Whether he was mentally in the right place to fight is another question entirely. But the real takeaway here is that he did exactly the same thing he’s done in previous fights and that it was working — to a point. That point — overcoming the mental challenge of someone playing mind-games with you — is the biggest lesson to be had from all of this.

The road to winning starts upstairs between your ears. Weidman showed that he didn’t just have a strong engine; it’s operator was in top notch shape, as well. Remember that in how you approach your training and every competition you enter.




  1. TheJoe

    July 10, 2013 at 11:26 am

    I don’t believe that The Spider countered nearly as much or as effectively as he did during his “charade” in previous fights.

    In the past, when he went into, “f#ck y*u” mode…he would duck and dodge 1 or two times and then offer an ON POINT counter combo. Not just one punch, but a pair or more that were accurate.
    Enough so, that it made fighters hesitate when they threw, which it in turn made it easy to counter with another counter combo.

    In this fight. Even at the end of the first round when he was essentially fighting back, Anderson wasn’t returning with combos.
    He would duck, and return one jab or one hook and then taunt some more.
    The 2nd was much of the same. He was doing his little dance, but he wasn’t throwing counters with purpose.

    I don’t think the fight was thrown, but Sylva wasn’t trying to win.
    Mabye he didn’t “want” to loose, and he might not have wanted to get KTFO…but he wasn’t trying to WIN.

    • Mr. Twisted

      July 10, 2013 at 12:02 pm


      Silva was returning; his strikes just weren’t nearly as effective as they had been in the past. However, what did most certainly land were his vicious leg kicks–which I’m pretty sure are the best in all of MMA. I would bet money that Weidman’s left leg was in bad shape the next day. He was just tough enough to deal with it in the fight, and he moved and covered well enough to miss most of the counters.

      I think Silva was trying to win every bit as much as he was with Maia or the first Sonnen fight.

  2. Mario

    July 10, 2013 at 11:47 am

    Silva does what most MMA fighters do, even the so called elite champions, and that is to go back pedalling when being attacked. They would not last two rounds with a mediocre boxer. MMA fighter definetely have very low standup skills, instead of moving to the sides an evading a crazy attack they move back and get caught lile Silva did

    • Mr. Twisted

      July 10, 2013 at 2:26 pm


      Stating that an MMA fighter would “not last two rounds with a mediocre boxer” is like saying a NASCAR driver would never be able to even place at a Formula One event in Europe. They are different sports and the preparation is decidedly different, even if the basic fundamentals still exist.

      Simply “moving to the sides” does not get one out of take-down danger, especially against a high level wrestler (which is exactly what Weidman is). Everyone tends to forget the whole aspect of wrestling and how it changes things when comparing boxing to MMA.

    • RU Nick

      July 11, 2013 at 12:14 am

      Silva routinely trains with and destroys high level pro boxers. MMA fighters can box really freaking well. Boxing is just a lot harder when the gloves have no padding and you have to worry about the takedown. Trust me on this. If you don’t believe me, challenge them to a boxing match.

  3. Quaz

    July 10, 2013 at 1:58 pm

    Weidman listened to his corner between rounds. Ray Longo told him: quit getting sucked into Silva’s shenanigans (paraphrasing) and “punch a hole in his chest.” End of story.

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