The moment that the UFC 162 main event was announced, middleweight contender Chris Weidman became the sexy pick to finally dethrone Anderson Silva from his reign as UFC champion.
Silva has virtually been untouchable since winning the title back in 2006, but the seemingly invincible armor he wore took more than a few dings when he faced Chael Sonnen in two fights between 2010 and 2012. Despite Silva ultimately coming out on top in both fights, Sonnen's wrestling countered the Brazilian's laser-like accuracy on the feet for the better part of 25 minutes in total.
So with Weidman carrying a similar background, being a former two-time NCAA All-American wrestler with an added element of a rapidly developing submission game honed under Brazilian jiu-jitsu legends like Renzo Gracie and John Danaher, it's safe to say the New York native is a popular choice to finish what Sonnen started in his fights with Silva.
"All the pros, like when you talk to all the fighters, every fighter out there that I've talked to and that we've interviewed think Weidman's going to beat him," UFC president Dana White said recently when speaking to the media about the upcoming UFC 162 main event. "Georges St-Pierre thinks he's going to win so much that he didn't even want to plan to fight Anderson."
White didn't get a chance to talk to every fighter on the roster because at least one middleweight contender who spent several weeks preparing for Weidman last year doesn't believe he's going to walk out of UFC 162 with the title in tow.
"I think Dana's quote was all the fighters he's talked to were picking Weidman," UFC middleweight Tim Boetsch recently told Bleacher Report about the upcoming fight. "He didn't call me to get my opinion because I'm with Anderson Silva on this one."
Boetsch was set to face Weidman late last year before the top middleweight contender suffered a shoulder injury that put him into surgery instead of the Octagon. While the fight did change to a new opponent, Boetsch studied plenty of tape to get familiar with the weapons that Weidman would bring to the table for their fight.
In his opinion, Boetsch believes that it would have done Weidman some good to get more in-cage experience before taking on the greatest fighter of all time with only nine fights to his name
"I'm happy for Chris that he got what he asked for, but I think he's going to find out he should have taken a little more time to get there, a little more experience," Boetsch stated. "It would be a surprise for me if he won."
No one would deny that Weidman has the kind of skills necessary to give Silva problems in a similar way that Sonnen did during their two fights. If Weidman can get the fight to the ground and keep it there, Silva could struggle to get up from under his top control and wrestling game.
A five-round fight is still an awful long time to give Silva opportunities to land that one perfect knockout blow, and Boetsch thinks it will happen at some point before the final horn sounds.
"I think Weidman has the tools to do it, but with the experience and Anderson just being the greatest fighter in the world, I think he's going to hang onto that title for a little bit longer until I get there to take it away from him," Boetsch said.
Boetsch will be front and center for the main event because he will also be a part of the UFC 162 card when he faces Mark Munoz that same night. With hopes of jumping back into title contention, Boetsch will look to pick up a win of his own and then sit down and watch the main event between Silva and Weidman unfold.
Damon Martin is a Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report and all quotes were obtained first hand unless otherwise noted.