Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
When a sport has a dominant figure or team, fans sometimes get tired of that team or individual and begin to actively root against them. Some examples of this are the Dallas Cowboys, New York Yankees, Tom Brady, Sugar Ray Leonard and on and on and on.
That type of hoping for the downfall of a dynasty may be infecting the UFC fanbase—specifically the fanbase of the UFC’s middleweight division, and even more specifically, the fanbase of UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva.
Silva has dominated the division since defeating Rich Franklin at UFC 64. Yeah, almost 100 UFC pay-per-view events ago. Of course some fans are going to get sick of that dude, and that’s going to lead to some wishful thinking that Silva’s next opponent is always going to be the one that has the champ’s number.
That hasn’t happened yet, but can it happen with Weidman?
Weidman has a few strikes against him. He hasn’t fought since July 11, 2012, and in that fight he topped an injured Mark Munoz. Weidman hasn’t fought anywhere near the level of competition that Silva has. Weidman has never fought in a pay-per-view main event. Weidman has only nine professional bouts.
So, what does Weidman have going for him? He’s a good wrestler who should be able to take Silva down. His ground game is better than other wrestlers that have been able to get Silva to the mat recently, and he’s supremely confident.
Maybe, he’s supremely confident.
There may have been a little dip in that confidence. In May, Weidman said to Matt Erickson of MMAJunkie.com, “I've seen his weaknesses, and I think I can expose him again and look for a finish or a good performance. You've just got be confident. You can say anything you want before the fight, but it's all about when you touch those gloves, do you still have the confidence? I'm going to make sure I do."
The most important part of that statement is “or a good performance.” I may be reading into that, but looking for a good performance is a far cry from saying that he’s going to win. That sounds more like he’s going to go out there and give it the old college try. Maybe the confidence Weidman is portraying isn’t as high as he would like to convince us it is.
Back to the point, does Weidman have the best chance of any of the fighters that have tried to defeat Silva, or are the fans just so desperate for a change that they have misguided faith in Weidman?
My honest answer is, I don’t know. My head says Silva wins this one, but the chatter of Weidman and his faithful is starting to make me doubt myself a little bit.