On July 6, undefeated Chris "The All-American" Weidman will challenge the Ultimate Fighting Championship's middleweight champion, Anderson "The Spider" Silva, for the promotion's 185-pound division's belt.
The two will headline the UFC 162 fight card at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nev.
Even though Weidman (9-0-0, 3 KOs) will be competing against a man many experts proclaim is the greatest fighter in the history of mixed martial arts in Silva (33-4-0, 20 KOs), "The All-American" refuses to give in to fear or doubt. He's confident that he'll at the very least earn Anderson's respect when it's all said and done.
"I'm a really bad matchup for him, and I'm a tougher opponent that some people might understand," Weidman said during a UFC 162 pre-fight interview. "I'm a pressure based fighter. I'm going to be walking forward, using my length, mixing it up between my takedowns and my punches. I'm not going to be moving backwards too much. He'd be a fool not to respect me as a fighter. On July 6, he's going to respect me as a fighter."
For Weidman to even have a remote chance against Silva, he'll need to rely heavily on his wrestling.
Striking with the Anderson has never worked out well for anyone who's faced him in the UFC, and as accomplished as Weidman is a submission grappler, it's highly unlikely that he'll be able to realize what considerably more seasoned grapplers like Demian Maia and Travis Lutter weren't able to: submit Silva.
Obviously, utilizing a wrestling heavy gameplan would be Weidman's best bet against Silva, but putting The Spider on his back is no easy task.
While many of Silva's critics feel Chael Sonnen revealed the blueprint for beating the Brazilian during the first encounter between the two at UFC 117, the stats don't agree with that assessment. The myth that Sonnen took Silva down at will at UFC 117 simply isn't true.
Sonnen actually had a hard time putting Silva on his back during their first encounter, completing only 3 of his 7 takedown attempts (and that was with elevated testosterone levels). He didn't fare much better during their UFC 148 rematch, this time, completing only 1 of his 4 takedown attempts.
What Sonnen did well during his two fights against Anderson was controlling the middleweight champ once the fight hit the ground. Of course, that severely limited his ability to do serious damage from top position, which gave Silva the opportunity to pull off come-from-behind victories on both occasions.
Weidman -- who is coming off a one-year layoff and shoulder surgery -- will likely have a hard time getting Silva to the ground at UFC 162, which means he'll have to stand and trade with Anderson for extended periods of time.
It's hard to see anything good coming out of that scenario for Weidman.