Chris Weidman is proving to be up for the life of a UFC champion.
The Middleweight trains tirelessly, handles the cameras and spotlight like a true pro, and effortlessly blends all of the elements of mixed martial arts, wining each time out.
Now, Weidman is in a position which most fighters can only dream of, and is ready to defend his UFC Middleweight championship for the first time against an opponent not named Anderson Silva.
In this new feature, I debate (amongst myself) five reasons why Weidman will, and five reasons why he will not remain UFC Middleweight champion for long. Check it out below!
1. Will: Chris Weidman stopped Anderson Silva...twice! In his last two fights, Weidman looked great in punishing Silva from the onset, and ending with KO's.
1. Won't: Weidman may not have gained a lot from those fights. A 38-year-old Silva looked to be a shell of his former self, resorting to tantalizing Weidman in his first fight with the American, getting stopped due to an unexpected lunge forward by Weidman, and stopped due to a gruesome broken leg (caused by a checked-kick). Maybe, just maybe Weidman will struggle with guys more prepared to deliver a title-winning effort.
2. Will: Weidman is strong on his feet. He's good at creating opportunities to impose his will on his opponents.
2. Won't: Weidman is a good striker, but that won't put a damper on things for most experienced UFC fighters. They'll look to preclude any of Weidman's aggression, and strike him with shots he hasn't seen before. His next opponent, a Karate black belt and deadly counter striker, Lyoto Machida, will be a huge test in this category.
3. Will: The New York-based Weidman is also a strong and imposing fighter on the ground. Few can hold their own when put in a bad position by Weidman.
3. Won't: At this juncture, Weidman really hasn't been taken down by another elite grappler. Being a former NCCA Division I competitor indicates that he can manage, but the UFC is about more than conventional wrestling.
4. Will: Weidman has confidence. There is no doubt about this. He wasn't intimidated by Anderson Silva, and his many supporters. No other athlete has any hope of terrorizing Weidman,
4. Won't: Weidman might just be overdue for a gut-check in the cage. Machida, and everyone else in the Middleweight top-five has something to offer of that variety. How will he react to having his bells rung?
5. Will: Weidman has legions of fans in the NY area, and that is in part due to his workmanlike characteristics. He fits the billing as an American MMA champion.
5. Won't: Everyone recognizes this man. They know he is, they know what he did, but what we don't know is how he'll be received globally. Brazil is a tapped market for MMA, as is the US, but he still hasn't garnered the homage of past UFC champions, and for that reason, may not be a major PPV hit, but this will likely be solved in due time.
This gives us all the more reason to tune into UFC 175, where Chris Weidman is challenged by fearsome former-champion Lyoto "The Dragon" Machida.