If Chris Weidman is going to beat Anderson Silva, he will need to bring his NCAA All-American wrestling credentials with him when he steps into the Octagon on Saturday night. If he fails to do so, his chances of walking away from UFC 162’s main event with a victory are close to none.
There’s no doubt that Weidman, a two-time All-American with Hofstra, has a better wrestling game than Silva, the UFC middleweight champion. There’s also no doubt that Silva has heard the talk about how that wrestling advantage may lead to Silva’s first loss since he was disqualified against Yushin Okami in 2006, three years before Weidman made his professional MMA debut. If you think the talk and the college credentials worry Silva, you would be wrong.
Silva has a simple answer to that type of talk, saying “this is MMA.”
Silva’s correct. While many are quick to point out the wrestling strength of Weidman and the perceived wrestling weakness of Silva, they forget that, as Silva told Rick Lee, “this isn’t wrestling, this is MMA. This isn’t Jiu-Jitsu, this is MMA. This isn’t Muay Thai, this is MMA.”
In other words, one perceived advantage may be nice, but it doesn’t complete the picture, and it doesn’t seem to concern the man that hasn’t lost a fight since he joined the UFC in 2006.
Silva has beaten wrestlers in the past, choking out Olympian Dan Henderson and twice defeating All-American Chael Sonnen. Yes, both Henderson and Sonnen had some luck against Silva, but neither of them had their hands raised in victory at the conclusion of the bout.
Weidman is confident going into the fight, and many believe in him. But beating one of the best MMA fighters in the history of the sport? That’s a tall order for anyone, regardless of their pedigree.