Thoughts on Silva vs Weidman and Mental Toughness
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.