Is there an echo in here?
Give Chris Weidman the title shot already; I am tired of saying it!
In March, I said Weidman is the man to take Anderson Silva's belt. I was met largely with sarcastic remarks and snickers (and not the candy bar, unfortunately).
To me, those critics were justified at the time; Weidman was largely untested, and Silva was as dominant as ever.
Yesterday, July 10, I definitively claimed Mark Munoz would not be able to get going against Weidman, and the 28-year-old would do as he pleased, when he pleased.
Again, the majority laughed.
Look, this is mixed martial arts, and absolutely anything can happen in the cage. Predicting fights is as easy as predicting the weather or predicting heads or tails. Really, you can never say for certain how a fight will pan out.
The same can be said for fighters. A man who is dominant and impressive in one fight can come out flat-footed and lazy in his next outing; we have seen this story play out plenty of times in the Octagon. So, I do not blame you in the least for not listening to guys like myself who were high on Chris Weidman going into UFC on Fuel TV 4.
Who Deserves the Next Shot at Silva's Middleweight Title?
Mark Munoz had proven himself, and Weidman had not, so your assumptions were fair and justified.
That being said, when a fighter shows the skills Weidman has, and the ability to learn and adapt at an alarming rate, you have to say he is the real deal (and I mean the real real deal).
If you could build the perfect fighter, you would probably start with a world-class, stifling wrestling base.
Then you would snug up his jiu-jitsu skills, blending the ability to finish with the ability to maintain control while doing so.
Then, you would have to make sure his standup was at least good enough to stick around and pose a threat to setup that incredible wrestling base you have built.
Check (and in Weidman's case, it is looking even better than this).
The dude is unreal, and he may just be the biggest threat posed to the champion...ever.
His wrestling seems to be as good as, or better than, Chael Sonnen's, and we all saw what Sonnen was able to do to Silva for nearly 30 minutes total in their two matchups.
On top of this, Weidman has a much better submission game than Sonnen, and he is not afraid to constantly threaten with submissions once he has his opponent pinned.
Worrying about getting punched and elbowed is par for the course when you are on your back; worrying about getting your arm torn off or your neck constricted at all times adds a whole new dimension, one that Silva did not face against Sonnen.
It is not just that Weidman beat Mark Munoz that makes me say this; it is how he beat him.
Who has controlled Munoz like that before? If you did not know that Munoz was a Division I champion wrestler, would you even think he wrestled in college at all after seeing the fight?
If you did not know Munoz was a top five middleweight, would you even think he was top 10?
The ability to win is great, it is really all you need in the UFC, but the ability to make your opponents look horrible is what all the otherworldly fighters do.
Jon Jones does it, Georges St. Pierre does it, and, yes, Anderson Silva certainly does it.
So, can Weidman beat Silva, justifying his center-of-the-ring call-out of the champ after defeating Munoz?
Yes, he can, and you know what?
Call me crazy, but he has the style to do it, and styles make fights.
If anybody deserves the title shot right now, it is Chris Weidman, plain and simple.
Besides his impressive 5-0 streak in the Octagon, he poses the biggest threat to the champion right now.
Alan Belcher, Michael Bisping, Hector Lombard and Tim Boetsch, I am sorry, but Weidman did exactly what he needed to do tonight to leapfrog each and every one of you and earn himself a shot at the belt.
Do not fret though, my fine middleweight contenders. You will have the chance to fight "The Spider;" it just will not be for the belt.
Chris Weidman will have that.