Anderson Silva Has Never Turned Down a Fight, Chris Weidman Won't Be the First
Some believe this fight is essentially a year in the making after Weidman dispatched Mark Munoz at UFC on Fuel in July 2012 and immediately began a campaign to land the next shot at Silva and the UFC 185-pound crown.
Silva's camp was never ultra excited about the potential fight due to Weidman's relative novice status in terms of being a recognizable name in the UFC as well as his overall experience level. Weidman is 9-0 as a fighter with a perfect record in the Octagon but still falls well short of Silva's accolades in the UFC.
Ultimately, UFC officials decided Weidman was the best choice to face Silva next, but the champion's camp wants one thing to be perfectly clear—Silva has never turned down a fight and didn't plan on starting with Weidman.
"At the end of the day and I've always said before, Anderson is there to fight and he never turned away an opponent," said Ed Soares, Silva's manager, when speaking to Bleacher Report on Wednesday. "We have our opinions, people ask us our opinions, but we've never turned away an opponent and we never will. Anderson fights whoever the UFC puts in front of him and he always has and he always will.
"When people ask our opinion, I feel we have the right to state our opinion. It is what it is, I think it's going to be an incredible fight. I do think Chris Weidman is definitely a tough opponent, our biggest complaint was that he wasn't the biggest name and not well known, but I know that the UFC is going to get behind him and really make it a big promotion."
Soares and Silva were never wrong in what they said about Weidman by referencing his status as a star in the UFC. He's never headlined a pay-per-view or even been on the main card of a UFC pay-per-view for that matter, and he has only taken part in one main event for his fight against Munoz that aired on Fuel TV.
That doesn't change the fact that Weidman has separated himself from the rest of the middleweight division with his record and immense talent showcased every time he's fought. Soares has no doubt that even if Weidman isn't the most well-known name now, by the time July rolls around everybody will be well aware of what he brings to the table.
"I've got to leave it in their hands," Soares said about the UFC. "People always doubted what the UFC does and they doubted them in the Ronda Rousey fight and look what ended up happening. It was a huge success. So time and time again they prove themselves and they know what they're doing and we've got to get behind them and believe this is going to be a great, huge event."
At 37 years old, Silva has said time and time again he wants to be part of the biggest fights possible to continue his legacy as the greatest fighter mixed martial arts has ever seen. He's also faced the absolute best of the best throughout his career, and while Weidman wasn't always his first choice, he's who the UFC wanted him to fight, so they will fight.
"It has to do with trying to put the biggest fights possible together," Soares said. "If Chris Weidman is really what everybody says he is, he would have been there in two more fights with more promotion. In our business sometimes we don't get those luxuries. People get injured, people get hurt, people that people thought were going to win didn't win, so this business is strategically you want to plan something and it never really goes to plan.
"You take it one at a time, one opportunity at a time, and right now Chris Weidman is the best opportunity at the time. Anderson's going to go out there and train and put on a show like he always does. Everyone that thought he should have got a shot, now he's getting a shot."
Sometimes asking to face Silva and then actually fighting him becomes a clear-cut case of "be careful what you wish for," but Weidman will finally have his chance to prove he can go with the best middleweight in the world on July 6 at UFC 162.
Damon Martin is a Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report, and all quotes were obtained firsthand unless otherwise noted.
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