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By: Frank Hyden, MMATorch contributor
Chris Weidman is getting a lot of talk about being the next challenger to Anderson Silva's UFC Middleweight title. I'm fine with that, mainly because it's not like anyone is head and shoulders above the rest in that division other than Silva. It seems as though Silva's camp doesn't want this fight, though. It's hard to find too much fault with that in the sense that Silva probably wants to cash in. He's only got so many fights left, and he wants to fight some big names.
Ask most people who Chris Weidman is and they'll probably think he's a lawn-care specialist. I do think that Weidman could possibly beat Silva, but you could say that about a lot of people. Silva's getting older and you never know what could happen in the cage, and upsets happen all the time in sports. However, I don't think Weidman can play the 'He's ducking me" card. To be clear, I'm not saying that Weidman is saying that, he's too savvy to make such an outlandish statement. Weidman is laying the groundwork for saying that in the future, though. It's true that he just destroyed Mark Munoz, but before that he had to go to a split decision to win over Demian Maia. Those are quality wins, for sure, but Weidman is in that group of guys who can lay claim to a title shot. He's not above that group, he's among that group.
Having said all that, though, I do think that Weidman should get the next title shot. It's just a process of elimination. Everyone else in the division who could possibly get a title shot is already locked into another fight. I don't like seeing fighters sit on the sidelines so I think Weidman should be the next man to fight Silva for the belt.
UFC on FOX 4 is Saturday, and a future Light Heavyweight Title shot hangs in the balance. Ryan Bader fights Lyoto Machida and Mauricio "Shogun" Rua fights Brandon Vera, and the most impressive fighter from these two fights will get to face the winner of Jon Jones vs. Dan Henderson for the UFC Light Heavyweight title. Quite frankly, I don't see a good outcome to this. Assuming Jones beats Henderson, he'll have to fight a guy who he's already smashed in the past two years.
I understand that this is what happens when greatness emerges, but can't the UFC find someone else, anyone else? This isn't like when Chael Sonnen stayed on top of Anderson Silva for 4+ rounds (the issue of injury, failed drug tests, etc. aside), these guys all got crushed by Jones recently. How do you hype up a rematch? Going back to Sonnen vs. Silva, you could rely on glossing over some things and playing up that Sonnen held Silva down for so long. This isn't the case with Jones and any of these four.
The easiest sell would probably be Shogun getting a rematch, mainly because he's got an epic fight with Dan Henderson relatively fresh in people's minds. The one that makes no sense to me would be Brandon Vera getting the shot. The guy's got a record of 1-2, 1 No Contest in his last four fights. To be fair, though, Shogun is 1-2 in his last three fights, and 2-3 in his last five. Machida is 1-3 in his last four fights. Ryan Bader actually has the best recent record, though he is only 2-2 in his last four fights.
Bader and Shogun are both 2-2 in their last four respective bouts, but this is all pretty close. I'm ok with the UFC opening it up to whomever impresses the most in their fight Saturday, as long as there is an impressive victory. Of course, this could all be thrown out the window if Dan Henderson beats Jones. I don't see that happening myself, but Henderson is always one shot away from ending a fight.
Comments and suggestions can be e-mailed to me at firstname.lastname@example.org
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