LAS VEGAS -- The move that could send Anderson Silva to retirement is called “destruction,” a kick-blocking leg move that Ultimate Fighting Championship middleweight champion Chris Weidman learned in preparation for the six-year champion who surrendered his belt to Weidman in July.
“It stops guys from kicking,” Weidman said late Saturday night in the post-fight news conference at MGM Grand while Silva was undergoing emergency surgery to repair the fight-ending broken left leg he suffered in the second round.
“I’ve never done that before, and I’d never want Anderson Silva to get hurt like that. If I don’t put the knee on the shin, he’s going to hurt me. That’s how you check the kick.”
And that’s how you perhaps forever alter the UFC landscape in the same month when longtime UFC welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre announced he was vacating his belt to the March 15 Johny Hendricks-Robbie Lawler winner to deal with personal issues.
UFC President Dana White said it’s premature to guess whether Silva, 38, has the physical capability or desire to return to fighting. Silva was screaming in agony after kicking Weidman’s left shin, with the former champion’s lower leg crumbling upon a distinct-sounding, grotesque impact.
“This would be a tough thing to overcome at his age,” White said. “Anderson Silva’s been amazing, one of the greatest of all time, amazing. It’s a [bad] way to see him go out, but it’s part of the game.
“He’s going to be out for awhile. He’s an incredible human being, has done a lot of amazing things in the UFC. Maybe he’ll want to make a comeback. We’ll see what happens. I don’t want to count him out, don’t want to count him in.”
[Updated at 8 a.m.: Silva underwent surgery for his broken leg and an orthopedic surgeon inserted a rod into his left tibia. The broken left fibula was stabilized and won't require a separate surgery, according to a statement by Zuffa, LLC, the owners of UFC. Recovery time is estimated at three to six months.
"Anderson is deeply touched by the outpouring of support from his fans and the entire MMA community. There has been no immediate decision about his future, and he would kindly ask for privacy at this time as he deals with his injury and prepares to return home to recover," the statement read.]
Weidman now will fight veteran Vitor Belfort, who was the UFC 12 champion in 1997 and who was famously knocked out by a Silva kick in 2011.
The new champion, who had to fend off questions that his July 6 second-round knockout was a fluke, pounded Silva with a right-handed punch in the first round, knocking him to the canvas and nearly out.
“I feel there’s no one in this weight class that can clench with me,” Weidman said. “I wanted to finish him.”
He didn’t want this one reduced to a victory by “accident.”
“I don’t think it was an accident to try and check a kick and it works,” Weidman said.