...OH, ONE MORE THING - PLEASE BOOKMARK US & VISIT DAILY!
By: Jamie Penick, MMATorch Editor-in-Chief
Several fighters near the top of the UFC's middleweight division have been getting lined up for fights this fall, but one name who hasn't yet been booked is Chris Weidman. The prevailing thought is that he'll be next in line to face Anderson Silva after destroying Mark Munoz earlier this month, and that's a feeling that Weidman shares.
In an interview with Fighter's Only, Weidman said he believes that fight will be his next, though he made it clear nothing is yet set on that front.
"There's a good chance of it happening," Weidman said of that fight. "Right now we are waiting on a bunch of stuff. I am not gonna say its definite or not, we are waiting to find out. I want him, I have said that, I think I deserve him - I beat two top five guys in a row, no one else has done that. No one else has really stopped a top ten contender either. Everyone I have fought has been tough guys like my first UFC fight was against (Alessio Sakara when he was on a three-fight win streak. He was in his prime and I took that fight with two and a half weeks notice, plus a broke rib, and beat him."
"Then Tom Lawlor who is definitely a tough guy. Submitted him," Weidman continued. "Then Demian Maia - took that fight on ten days notice, cut 32 pounds and he was ranked fifth at the time. I was able to beat him. Then finally I had a full training camp and I was able to take out Munoz who was ranked third. The number one and two guys just fought and I was able to take out number three so its looking good!"
"Every time I have had a full training camp I have finished my opponent and I think the UFC likes that. And if I get the Anderson Silva fight, I am going for the finish."
Of course, Silva's camp has come out and made statements suggesting that they don't buy Weidman as a legitimate title challenger at this stage in his career. Weidman understandably disagrees with that sentiment, and thinks he's proved that he's a viable challenger in the division already.
"There is only so much avoiding you can do so if the UFC wants him to fight me it is going to happen," Weidman said. "Anderson can sell PPV by himself, he is the greatest fighter of all time so it doesn't matter who he is fighting. And they can definitely sell me - I am undefeated, every time I have a full camp I finish my opponent, I finished my last guy in a devastating fashion. Two top five guys in a row. I was living in my parents basement a year and half ago, its almost like the Rocky story that I now have the opportunity to fight for the title. The UFC can definitely make that an interesting story for people."
"When I first got into MMA three years ago I would tell people what weight class I was in and people were like 'whoa, that's Anderson's weight class I hope you never meet him.'" Weidman continued. "Basically looking at me like, 'you have no chance of being champion.' And in the back of my mind I was like, ‘You're wrong!' But I would never say anything because they would think I was crazy."
"And I was a big Anderson fan too, I thought he was awesome, but I wanted to be the guy to dethrone him, and this was three years ago before Anderson had any idea who I am. And now I am in that position to do what I wanted to do - dethrone the best of all time. And now people aren't laughing when I say that."
Weidman believes he's the man to defeat Silva. He's been very impressive thus far against fighters much further down the ladder, but after destroying Munoz, he thinks he presents a challenge Silva hasn't yet faced.
"I think I am stylistic nightmare for him too and you can definitely build that up," Weidman said. "I will give him serious trouble. I am not going in like some other guy just staged, to 'test myself'. I have been competing since I was young and I have made that mistake before, going in to see how I would do against somebody who I thought was good and then fighting out later in the match that 'wow, I can hang with him.'"
"I am done with that type of attitude. I am going in there to beat him. I know I belong in there, I have proved it. I am going in there to finish him. And not just Anderson - every single fight I've had I am in going in there to finish. I would say 90 percent of the guys who got in there withy Anderson have been scared of him. I'm not."
Penick's Analysis: It's looking increasingly likely that Weidman-Silva is going to be on tap next. With Belcher-Belfort and Stann-Bisping already booked for the fall, Weidman doesn't have that type of matchup available to him if this fight falls through or isn't in the works. As it stands, it appears that the matchup is indeed in the cards, though we'll have to see just when Silva wants to return to get a better idea on the timing of the fight. Whether Weidman is ready for that opportunity or not is a question best saved for close to the fight, but it's clear he'd like it to be next.
DON'T GO YET... WE SUGGEST THESE MMATORCH ARTICLES, TOO!
Jamie Penick, editor-in-chief
STAFF COLUMNISTS: Shawn Ennis - Jason Amadi
Frank Hyden - Rich Hansen
Chris Park - Matt Pelkey
Interested in joining MMATorch's writing team? Send idea for a theme to your column (for Specialist section) or area of interest (i.e. TV Reporter) along with a sample of writing to firstname.lastname@example.org.