Upcoming UFC middleweight title challenger Chris Weidman is extremely confident heading into his championship bout with pound-for-pound juggernaut Anderson Silva at UFC 162.
Giving his grappling credentials, "The All-American" has every reason to believe he matches up well with his Brazilian counterpart.
Many fans and analysts believe that Chael Sonnen set the blueprint for beating "The Spider" when they fought at UFC 117, scoring with takedowns and ground-and-pound for over four rounds before the champion threw up a miracle submission in the fifth and final round.
At the UFC 162 conference call, Weidman said he thought he could beat Silva before UFC 117, but it also showed him what he will have to do to capture the middleweight strap (via MMA Junkie).
"I believed I could beat him before that fight, but (Silva) stays relaxed, and if you’re tense and he’s relaxed, eventually, he’s going to be able to get off what he wants. So, I think the main thing I learned from that is that I thought Chael was a little bit too uptight and tense when he got the takedown, and I think it paid off for Anderson to stay relaxed the entire fight because he was able to have the energy to knock that out in the fifth round. And all props to Anderson on that."
After wins over Brian Stann and Michael Bisping, Sonnen earned a rematch with his arch nemesis at UFC 148.
While "The American Gangster" was again able to dominate Round 1 with a takedown and superior positioning on the mat, an ill-advised missed spinning back fist led to Silva finishing him via TKO in the second round.
Weidman, like Sonnen, was a two-time All-American wrestler in college, though his jiu-jitsu and striking skills are generally believed to be more dangerous than those of Sonnen.
The undefeated prospect has notched three knockouts and three submissions in nine career victories and also earned his brown belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu earlier this month.
Of course, Silva remains a stiff challenge for anyone, boasting a 16-0 record inside the Octagon, as well as setting the UFC middleweight record with 10 consecutive title defenses.