On Saturday, July 6, undefeated prospect Chris Weidman will enter the cage as a title challenger against longtime middleweight champion Anderson Silva. It is a hotly anticipated affair that offers much intrigue and is nearly a year in the making.
With a 5-0 record inside the Octagon, including wins over Demian Maia and Mark Munoz, Weidman was tapped by many as the man with the best chance of crushing The Spider. However, as the event draws nearer, the chatter from fans seems to suggest that our readers are having second thoughts on the matter.
The doubt that fans have regarding Weidman's ability to pull off such a monumental win comes down to three things: ring rust, Matt Serra's absence and the historical dominance of Anderson Silva.
One of the most common struggles of a fighter returning from a lengthy cage absence is getting reacclimated to doing battle inside the Octagon. Time and time again fans have witnessed a can't-miss fighter return to the cage looking like a flat-footed shell of their former selves.
On July 6, Chris Weidman will return to the cage for the first time in 360 days. His time away from the Octagon stems from a shoulder injury that required surgery.
Ask yourself a question: Is there any fighter capable of showing up in less than pique form and defeating Anderson Silva? I think not.
Lack of Serra
Earlier this week, it was announced (via MMAfighting.com) that longtime Weidman coach, mentor and trainer Matt Serra will be unable to corner his prize student at UFC 162. While that news may not seem terribly important to some, those that recognize the vital role that a cornerman plays know that it can make all the difference in the world.
The cornerman is an additional pair of eyes who can look for openings and shout them to you from afar. They help you spot an opponent's weaknesses or mistakes, and there are few that do it as well as Matt Serra.
Fans who were introduced to Matt Serra through The Ultimate Fighter 4 saw The Terra corner his team throughout the show. Serra and his men picked up wins in seven of their eight quarter-final matchups.
Still unconvinced of the power of Serra's coaching efforts? Between Weidman and teammate Costa Philippou, while under the former welterweight champion, the duo is 10-0 in the UFC middleweight division.
For some who are doubting Chris Weidman, it has nothing to do with the 29-year-old's skillset. Rather, their lack of faith is based more on the undeniable dominance of champion Anderson Silva, which has afforded him an unprecedented 16-0 record inside the Octagon.
Anderson Silva is the greatest fighter of all time. That is not an accolade that is tossed around lightly. In fact, it was earned by defeating many of the most talented names that the sport has ever known, including: Vitor Belfort, Rich Franklin, Dan Henderson, Forrest Griffin, Chael Sonnen and many more.
Weidman is a can't-miss prospect in the middleweight division, but to suggest that he has proven himself to be better than the victim list on Silva's resume is downright foolish.
At the end of the day, you should definitely have doubts about Chris Weidman's chances. However, those of you who feel as if Silva is going to walk all over the undefeated fighter are sorely mistaken.
When these two warriors collide at UFC 162, one man will have his arm raised. Perhaps it will be Chris Weidman. The New York native has all of the necessary tools to get the job done. Or does he?