Chris Weidman has been eyeing Anderson Silva for a long time.
The undefeated middleweight contender has been brimming with an unusual confidence that hasn't struck the right chord with most MMA fans.
Silva is the top pound-for-pound fighter in the world and arguably the greatest of all time. He has completely eviscerated every UFC contender to stand in his way. How does Weidman expect to be any different than all of the other fighters who fell before Silva? Where is his confidence coming from?
During an appearance on The Fight Network's "5 Rounds" segment, Weidman talked about his dream of defeating Silva and proving all of the naysayers wrong:
One of the biggest things for me is to prove to all of those people that think I'm going to get killed or just see him as unbeatable, I can't wait to prove them wrong. I really want to make it look easy out there. I just want to shock the world.
As fans, it's easy to become infatuated with past bouts against opponents, but in reality, the key behind breaking down a fight lies in the style matchup.
On paper, Weidman is an incredibly difficult matchup for Silva. If there is any vulnerability in Silva's airtight game, it would have to be his wrestling. Chael Sonnen has already proven this on a pair of occasions by effortlessly putting Silva on his back multiple times.
Of course, Silva always found a way to win. He may not be the best wrestler in MMA, but his Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu skills more than make up for whatever he lacks in the takedown department.
On the other hand, Weidman is also a high-level Jiu-Jitsu guy. With only one year of training, he made it all the way to the finals of the 2009 ADCC Submission Wrestling World Championship, where he was defeated in double overtime by world-renowned BJJ star André Galvão.
The mere thought of someone with only a year of experience competing at the highest level and nearly defeating a world class BJJ artist is unfathomable.
Weidman made his professional MMA debut in February 2009, and even then, he felt like he could defeat Silva:
I'm a huge fan of [Anderson Silva]. Since I got into the sport, 3 and a half or four years ago, he was the champion, and I decided to go to 185, and right away I'd tell people I was fighting at 185, and people would be like 'Is that Anderson Silva's weight class?' I'd be like, 'Yeah,' and they're like, 'Better choose a new weight class buddy.'
That just fueled me, since then till now. Even then I knew I could beat him. I just knew that I was a bad matchup for him. I just knew I had the potential to beat him, and I had that mindset four years ago, and it's even stronger now.