In the end, he turned out to be not as good as he thought he was.
Silva kept his hands at side and frequently urged Chris Weidman to fight. He gave Weidman several free shots at his chin.
In the second, Silva put his hands down, and was moving at the waist, avoiding most of the punches. But he didn't avoid them all, and it led to one of the most stunning finishes in UFC history.
Weidman caught Silva on the chin with a left hook while Silva's hands were at his waist. He finished the fight quickly on the ground and claimed the middleweight belt, giving the UFC its first new 185-pound champion since October 14, 2006, when Silva stopped Rich Franklin.
Silva had gone 16-0 in the UFC and had won 10 consecutive title bouts since his last loss, via disqualification, to Yushin Okami at Rumble on the Rock 8 on January 20, 2006, in Honolulu.
Many of his peers were picking Weidman to dethrone him on Saturday, but few saw it coming the way it did. After an early Weidman takedown, Silva inexplicably kept his hands down and kept shouting to Weidman to fight.
As he walked back to his corner after the first, Weidman was shaking his head.
He was not happy.
"It pisses me off when someone does that to me and I knew sooner or later, I'd get him," Weidman said.
He got him in the second. Silva was about eight feet from the cage and again, dropped his hands. Silva dodged three or four of Weidman's punches completely, but then a right grazed him.
That didn't seem to have an impact, but a crushing left hook landed on the point of Silva's chin and changed the course of UFC history.
The top fighter in the world, the man many had proclaimed as the greatest in UFC history, was out in an instant, his magnificent reign shockingly over. It also blew a potential super fight between Silva and light heavyweight champion Jon Jones, the man who now has to be regarded universally as the top pound-for-pound fighter in the world.
Silva said he did not want a rematch, but said he would continue to fight.
"Chris Weidman has my respect," Silva said. "He's the best. I did my best, but he's the best."
Weidman, who came to the ring draped in the American flag, could hardly believe what had just occurred.
"I felt destined, but it still felt far-fetched," Weidman said. "I imagined it so many times in my head, but it still feels surreal."