UFC 162 may provide the greatest challenge to Anderson Silva's belt in his long career with the UFC. Despite taking on top-level competitors in the past, such as Rich Franklin, Chael Sonnen and Yushin Okami, he has made them all look foolish in their attempts at snagging his title.
However, fighters such as Sonnen and Dan Henderson have given a glimmer of hope as to providing a blueprint to defeating Silva. Silva's wrestling is the chink in his armor, which American wrestlers with decent striking can look to expose.
Chris Weidman may be the perfect guy to expose Silva's wrestling.
Here are three areas of concern for Silva going into his title defense against Weidman.
As mentioned in the intro, Silva's biggest area of concern comes in the wrestling department. And as stated before, Weidman is one of the best wrestlers in the business.
If there was anything Sonnen gave us other than entertainment, it was the game plan for dominating Silva from the top position. Had he been able to hold out for around two more minutes, Sonnen would have walked away with Silva's golden strap.
Weidman finds himself with a similar, yet more refined, skill set to Sonnen. He is just as skillful in the wrestling department, but he can probably set up his takedowns better because of his hands. His boxing opens up the ability to use his wrestling.
If he plants Silva on the mat, he not only has great ground-and-pound, but he has very good submission skills. Silva is equally competent in submission grappling, but once Weidman wears him down, opportunities for tapouts may arise.
Going Through the Motions
When you have dominated for as long as Silva has and not come close to losing often, you tend to get bored with the lack of competition. That is another area of concern for Silva, especially against a dangerous young stud like Weidman.
We have seen Silva give lackluster performances against the likes of Thales Leites and Demian Maia, when he knew he was going to win easily. If he comes in with that mindset, he could easily kiss his belt goodbye.
He could always start off with that too-relaxed attitude and get woken up when Weidman brings it to him. However, if he takes that Maia-Leites attitude, he is in for a long (or possibly short) night.
As great as Anderson Silva still looks, he is not the spring chicken he used to be. That being said, there is still a reason he is the best, so perhaps, this concern should fall upon deaf ears.
However, it could also be Weidman's age that causes concern. Weidman is a young, hungry kid that has the youth to conquer Silva's older age.
Sometimes, experience is a great advantage, which it may be here. However, when you consider Weidman has more than a couple UFC fights under his belt, his youth may triumph over Silva's experience in the Octagon.