Anderson came into the bout in great shape and in full health. He fought the way he's fought before, with Lietes, with Maia, with Forrest. But he didn't have a problem with size and with KO power from any of those guys.
I would say Anderson underestimated Weidman--even though he was clearly and obviously worried about fighting him. I believe Anderson gave Chris a lot of credit, but he simply didn't give him enough credit. But that doesn't automatically translate to "not taking the fight seriously" any more than not wanting to fight someone because of risk/reward concerns immediately translates into being afraid of someone. Too many interweb fans want to reduce something into black and white, overly simplistic terms that simply do not apply.
and while I know you haven't said any of this specifically, that's still not a matter of him not taking the fight seriously, or giving it away/losing the fight on purpose, or any other bullshit that gets bandied about by Anderson fanboys/Weidman haters.
Even if Anderson comes back and incorporates and executes a smarter plan, it doesn't erase this bout, or excuse this bout. It just means that even as an old dog with a bag overflowing with tricks, that Anderson still has the ability to learn from every bout.
But Anderson lost to the guy who was the better fighter on that specific night. It doesn't mean Weidman is the better fighter forever, it just means he was the better fighter that night. That's what makes MMA so amazing, and that's what makes rematches so important. When Anderson wasn't actively looking for a rematch with Henderson, when he allowed soares to mislead the bulk of an uneducated and ignorant fan base was the first point where I had concerns about the champion. He's always had the skills to beat Dan a second time and prove beyond any doubt. Instead, he went the other way. I don't have a label for it, but it certainly wasn't the way of a game fighter, of a fighter with a champion's heart.
Anyway. Both guys have everything at stake. Weidman has to prove it wasn't a fluke, and silva has to price it was. An unenviable position on both sides. Both guys should be as motivated as they've ever been. It will a hell of a fight I'm sure.
The fluke card is only on the table if Weidman pulls a Serra and never has another significant bout in his career. And that's where the comparisons end. Serra was on the verge of retirement, a virtual has-been moving up a weight class to get a shot at GSP. Weidman is currently undefeated and posed a viable threat to Anderson even before the bout was signed.
The only people who are trying to seriously dismiss the fight as a fluke are either fanboys are haters, and don't know what they're talking about.
It happened. It was real. A rematch doesn't change anything but who holds the belt after the final bell.
But anyone who thinks Anderson took the fight lightly needs to go back and revisit how hard he and his camp tried to avoid it. Anyone who thinks he wasn't serious from the moment he signed the bout agreement needs to consider how difficult it is for a 38 year old man to get in that kind of shape, and perform as well as he did in the first round.
Miscalculating striking distance because you've spent 10 years sporting a reach advantage over anyone with the actual power to KO you doesn't equate to a lack of interest or focus. It's a practical concern, a lack of appropriate application of skill--and one that Anderson certainly possesses the capability of rectifying.
But when and if he manages to do so, it doesn't mean the loss was a fluke, or that Silva didn't have one night in a legendary UFC career where he simply was not the better fighter.
And that degree of variability is what makes MMA so fucking great.