Why Chris Weidman Has a Shot at Defeating Anderson Silva
Nobody is unbeatable in the sport of mixed martial arts.
Georges St. Pierre got caught by Matt Serra.
Lyoto Machida's darting style of counter-striking looked to be an impossible puzzle to solve...until Shogun pieced it together.
And Jon Jones.
But then there's Anderson Silva.
The reigning defending middleweight champion of the world has been a juggernaut in the UFC's 185 lb. division since he made his promotional debut in 2006.
In his record nine title defenses, "The Spider" has been utterly dominant, scarcely dropping a round to his opponents.
So who can stop him?
The answer lies with the hottest middleweight prospect in the UFC and the man with the skillset to dethrone the champ.
That man is Chris Weidman.
Start the slideshow to see why he can squash "The Spider."
It's no secret that Anderson Silva's kryptonite is wrestling, and Chris Weidman is arguably the best wrestler in the middleweight division.
Weidman was a two-time NCAA Division I All-American at Hofstra University and a two-time All-American NJCAA wrestler.
Compare this to Chael Sonnen, who was a one-time NCAA Division I champion, and you'll see that Weidman has a pedigree of wrestling greatness comparable to other elite wrestlers in the sport.
In his fights, Weidman has utilized his wrestling to control where the fight takes place and dictate the action, and that is what's most important.
Weidman has phenomenal wrestling, and he knows how to use it.
That's scary for the champ.
While Weidman is a world-class wrestler, his submission game is what sets him apart from other great collegiate wrestlers in MMA.
Unlike Chael Sonnen or Mark Munoz, two of the middleweight division's best wrestlers, Weidman has an impressive submission game to go along with his ground control.
In his eight career victories, Weidman has submitted his opponent three times.
Compare that to Sonnen, who has won via submission three times in 27 victories, or to Munoz, who has never won via submission, and it's easy to see that Weidman's submission game is superior to the other great wrestlers in the middleweight division.
Against Sonnen, Anderson was on his back for the better part of four-and-a-half rounds, but he was never in danger of being submitted.
It's safe to say if Weidman can control the champ on the ground for that long, he will find a choke or an arm and attack.
I won't get carried away here and say that Weidman can out-strike Anderson Silva, but his stand-up game is improving quickly under the tutelage of Ray Longo, and that is vital in a potential matchup with the champ.
For a wrestler still relatively fresh to the MMA scene, Weidman has yet to be outclassed on his feet, and this is a testament to his athleticism and ability to adapt quickly to new styles.
If Weidman can use his continually improving stand-up to set up his shots and avoid getting caught early, he could then wrestle his way to victory.
Chris Weidman is a quick finisher when he has adequate time to prepare for a matchup.
His two decision victories in the UFC against Alessio Sakara and Demian Maia were fights taken on short notice and don't properly reflect just how dangerous he can be (although he still won convincingly in each bout).
His other two fights, which he did have time to prepare for, resulted in quick first-round submission victories, and I think that is the Weidman that can defeat Silva.
Silva is known to feel out his opponents early, and the type of fighter that takes the fight to him early can give him problems.
We saw this in his matchup with Sonnen and also earlier in his career, when he took on Travis Lutter and Dan Henderson.
The first round is the best time to catch Anderson, and Weidman is an aggressive fighter who wouldn't be afraid to look for an early finish against the champ.
Chris Weidman is unafraid to seize an opportunity when it presents itself, and he has the hunger and determination to take out Anderson Silva.
It sounds silly to say, but to beat the champ, you have to believe you can beat him, and Weidman has a tough mentality forged through years of wrestling at a high level.
Along with this, he has shown in his UFC debut against Alessio Sakara, and more recently against Demian Maia, that he is always ready to step up to the plate and compete.
He is confident in himself, and that is half the battle (just ask Chael Sonnen).
Weidman has the tools and the state of mind to take UFC middleweight gold, and I expect to see him do it sometime in the next one to two years.
Leave a comment and we'll talk about it!