Chael Sonnen Relieved He Never Drew Chris Weidman as an Opponent

Jordy McElroyCorrespondent IJune 25, 2013

Chael Sonnen - Esther Lin/MMAFighting
Chael Sonnen - Esther Lin/MMAFighting

Chael Sonnen has never been one to back down from a fight, but he is also grateful the UFC never called for him to fight Chris Weidman.

The former middleweight contender has been singing Weidman's praises for months, and he certainly isn't alone.

Despite skepticism from fans, many UFC fighters seem to believe Weidman will shock the world at UFC 162 by defeating Anderson Silva for the middleweight title. In the extended preview for the event, Sonnen admitted Weidman was one of the few fighters he preferred not to have to step into the cage against:

"Weidman far and away can beat Anderson. I will fight anybody at any time, but every time my phone rang, I would think, jeez, I hope they're not going to tell me I got Chris Weidman."

Weidman, a former NCAA All-American wrestler, is a true prodigy in every sense of the word.

With only one year of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu training, he nearly defeated grappling legend Andre Galvao at the 2009 ADCC Submission Wrestling World Championship.

Weidman made his UFC debut in March 2011, and after only two years, he is already listed as the top contender in the middleweight division. Sure, he doesn't bolster Olympic medals or NCAA titles, but Weidman's transition from wrestler to MMA fighter far exceeds that of even some of the most decorated grapplers.

During the extended preview, UFC commentator Joe Rogan compared Weidman's wrestling with UFC welterweight champ Georges St-Pierre, a world class grappler without any wrestling credentials.

Sonnen isn't the type of fighter to throw around undeserved compliments regarding his peers. For a young fighter like Weidman, it has to be encouraging hearing some of the best fighters in the world talk up his chances against arguably the greatest fighter of all time.

Unfortunately for Weidman, talking about defeating Silva and actually going out there and doing it are two completely different things.

Will Weidman be able to succeed where so many others have failed?