Weidman vs. Silva: A Case Of Being Careful What You Wish For?

By Adam Martin

So Chris Weidman finally got his wish.

The UFC announced on Wednesday that the 28-year-old American, who
has been asking for a title shot for seemingly forever, will fight UFC
middleweight champion and #1 pound-for-pound fighter in the world Anderson Silva in the main event of UFC 162, which takes place July 6 in Las Vegas,

The fight is expected to be one of the UFC’s premier bouts in

Many are already pegging Weidman as the next big thing in the
UFC. Only 28 and only nine fights (all victories) into his MMA career, the
former NCAA Division I wrestler has already picked up five wins in the UFC,
including a knockout win over Mark Munoz and a decision win over Demian Maia,
as well as submission victories over Jesse Bongfeldt and Tom Lawlor, and a
decision over veteran Alessio Sakara in his UFC debut.

It’s safe to say Weidman is something special, and there is a
reason why many observers of the sport feel he is a legitimate threat to take
away Silva’s belt, something that no one has been able to do in the UFC so far,
as Silva has defended his title 10 times and hasn’t lost once in 16 total
Octagon appearances.

Supporters of Weidman believe that his wrestling-heavy game,
which has often been Silva’s Achilles’ heel, may be just what it takes to snap
Silva’s record 16-fight win streak in the UFC. And Weidman himself believes the
hype, as “The All American” comes across as extremely confident in himself in
interviews, and has said on numerous occasions that he is the man to dethrone
“The Spider.”

But could this be a case of being careful what you wish for?

We all know that Silva has been nothing short of flawless in
the UFC, wrecking each and every single opponent who has crossed his path. In
his UFC debut back in 2006, Silva did what no one thought was possible when he
knocked out the hard-headed Chris Leben in 49 seconds. Then in his next fight
he beat former UFC middleweight champion Rich Franklin with one of the most
deadly series of knee strikes ever seen inside a cage to take the title, and he
hasn’t let go of it ever since.

Since defeating Franklin at UFC 64, Silva has successfully
defended his title against Dan Henderson (via submission), Chael Sonnen (twice,
first by submission and second by TKO), Vitor Belfort (knockout), Yushin Okami
(TKO), Franklin again (another TKO), Nate Marquardt (TKO), Demian Maia
(decision), Patrick Cote (injury TKO), Thales Leites (decision), and he also
beat Travis Lutter in a non-title fight after Lutter missed weight.

Additionally, Silva has gone up to 205 pounds on three
occasions, defeating former UFC light heavyweight champion Forrest Griffin (via
KO), Stephan Bonnar (TKO), and James Irvin (KO). And he was able to do it
despite the fact Bonnar and Irvin were on steroids, and despite the fact
Griffin was taking a prescription drug illegally.

So why on Earth would Weidman want to fight this guy?

Well, the first reason is of course money. This is a big-money
fight, and Weidman will headline the first PPV of his career, the UFC’s annual
July 4th Weekend Show in Vegas, so he’ll definitely be raking in the dough.

And the second reason is because Weidman wants to become the
first man to defeat Silva in the UFC and go down in the history books as a
legend in his own right, something he would certainly be if he upset Silva.

But does Weidman not realize that the fight against Silva will
be his first in nearly a year since the win over Munoz last July at UFC on Fuel TV 4? And does he not realize that maybe his shoulder (the one that caused him
to pull out of his UFC 155 fight against Tim Boetsch in December) might not be
totally 100 percent? If you’re going to fight Silva you’re going to want every
advantage you can get, and a year of cage rust (which is real) certainly isn’t
going to help.

Weidman wanted this fight against Silva and he wanted it this
summer. But he’s taking a risk. Instead of taking a tune-up fight against a
lesser opponent (everyone besides Silva is lesser, so that’s not a knock on the
other middleweight contenders), Weidman has chosen to enter the spider web to
take on arguably best fighter in the history of the sport.

If he passes the test, he will be forever remembered in the
annals of MMA history as the man who finally ended Silva’s reign of terror atop
the UFC middleweight division. But if he loses, he’s going to look back and
wonder if he made a mistake, seemingly rushing into a fight against Silva when
he could have been more patient and gotten more experience in the sport.

And if that happens, he will have no one but
himself to blame.

UFC 162: Silva vs. Weidman is due to take place on July 6, 2013 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.

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