Seven months ago, a fight featuring current UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva and Chris Weidman seemed like a tough sell. Weidman was coming off an impressive performance against Mark Munoz at UFC on Fuel TV 4, but only a small percentage of MMA fans knew who he was.
To make things even harder, Silva didn’t seem interested in defending his title against “The All-American,” instead keeping his sights on more lucrative opportunities against bigger names.
But the persistence and relentless self-promotion of Weidman (9-0-0, 3 KOs) may have effectively forced Silva’s hand in taking the fight. The New Jersey native kept his name in the headlines following his win against Munoz, challenging Silva (33-4-0, 20 KOs) to a fight and accusing him of ducking every time he found a camera or recording device in his face. With every challenge, Weidman gradually started winning fans over to his cause, and soon enough, some started to believe “The Spider” was indeed afraid to defend his belt against the undefeated rising star.
Silva also played his part, indicating his desire to pretty much face anyone in the middleweight division not named Weidman. That only fanned the flames since it served as “evidence” Silva was indeed worried about his chances against Weidman.
UFC president Dana White didn’t seem interested in a Silva vs. Weidman fight either, but he quickly changed his tune as fan requests for the bout intensified. The muddled middleweight title picture certainly made the decision a bit easier, along with the fact that superfights against Georges St. Pierre and Jon Jones wouldn’t be possible until the latter half of 2013 at the earliest.
Weidman couldn’t be any happier with the way things have gone down.
“Dream come true,” Chris said during a conversation with Newsday. “Ever since I’ve been fighting, Anderson Silva has been the champion and I’ve been visualizing beating him. Now I have the opportunity. I have to make the most of it.”
As impressive as the All-American has been so far in his UFC career, he hasn’t faced anyone close to Silva’s level. With only two fights against top 15 caliber opponents, there’s a very good chance Weidman will figure out the moral behind the popular saying: “be careful what you wish for” when the two collide this summer.
Silva is the most dominant champion in UFC history, successfully defending the middleweight belt 10 consecutive times. Even the most experienced, high-level fighters in the world can’t seem to figure out how to avoid getting bit by the Spider.
Some seem to think Weidman would be able to dominate Silva with his wrestling, but I doubt that’ll be the case. After all, Silva has finished solid grapplers like Dan Henderson, Travis Lutter, and Chael Sonnen in the past.
While Weidman’s wrestling skills might earn him a few takedowns, it’s hard to see him keeping Silva grounded the entire fight. Brawlers, submission experts, wrestlers, and everything in between all seem to struggle against the Brazilian.