For former NCAA Division I wrestler Chris Weidman, the opportunity of a lifetime turned up 11 days ago when he was asked to take on former UFC middleweight title challenger Demian Maia on short notice at UFC on Fox 2 in Chicago.
After three rounds of fighting, Weidman emerged victorious via unanimous decision to improve his record to 8-0.
It was an impressive performance for the up-and-comer, but it wasn't for the right reasons. Just days before the weigh-ins, the 233-pound Weidman had to cut nearly 50 pounds to make the 185-pound weight limit. The effects showed.
With two well-established ground fighters, it turned into a striking match between both fighters outside of a couple takedowns from Weidman. Maia, who is considered the best Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu artist in the sport, hasn't been able to submit anyone since he triangled Chael Sonnen at UFC 95. Most of his fights since then have played out on the feet, and this one was no different.
Weidman was doing well early and was fortunate that his opponent was also having problems with his cardio. After two rounds, Weidman had out-landed Maia and appeared to be on his way to winning a decision. The third round ended with both fighters gassed.
Even with the victory over a top 10 opponent, Weidman shouldn't be moved into a contender's bout yet. His other UFC victories have come against Tom Lawlor, Jesse Bongfeldt and Alessio Sakara.
For his next fight, it could come against anyone in the mid-tier or upper-tier of the division, but it probably won't be a contender's bout.
It could come against the winner of the Yushin Okami and Tim Boetsch bout at UFC 144.
If the UFC does decide to put him into a No. 1 contender's bout, it could come against Mark Munoz or Rousimar Palhares.