Between his superior wrestling, which is the blueprint to controlling Silva, and his surprising confidence, Weidman has many people believing he is the next 185-pound king of the division.
Silva may be the best of all time, but Weidman is certainly the future of the division. The young Matt Serra disciple has taken the UFC by storm, choking out and blasting through tough competitors such as Mark Munoz and Demian Maia.
Going into this title test, here are the keys to victory for Weidman should he wish to be the champion by Saturday's end.
Don't Get Fancy
It's said, "If it ain't broken, don't fix it." I think that is a quote that Chris Weidman will need to live by in this fight with Anderson Silva.
Weidman has lived in the UFC by using his wrestling and controlling opponents. However, he is not just a lay-and-pray type wrestler that we see too often. He is a submission-seeking, face-beating monster.
Sure, his striking has looked pretty solid, especially considering he doesn't come from a high-level striking background. But in facing a flashy, devastating striker like Silva, Weidman needs to stick with what got him to the big show.
Wrestling will be the key here. Chael Sonnen showed that Silva can be beat by taking him down and using ground attacks to weaken his defenses. Now, Weidman needs to pick up the pieces of Sonnen's losses and turn them into another prize for his trophy case.
Keep You Head
This is by far the biggest fight in Chris Weidman's career. The main event of the biggest event of the year against the world's greatest MMA fighter is enough to give any man the heebie-jeebies.
Thus far, Weidman has shown great swagger and confidence. From the press conferences to the weigh-ins, Weidman has not backed down and has even looked like he has the fire in his eyes that could envelop the Silva monster.
When he gets in the cage, that confidence needs to linger. Silva is going to employ head games and frustrating tactics to get Weidman's mind off the task at hand. He will stick his chin out, keep his hands down and use his general swagger to get Weidman down on himself.
Weidman needs to use his mental toughness to block out everything that could deter his game plan and get him hurt. Inexperience may hurt him in this category, but the maturity he has shown leading up to this fight suggests that he could have a solid head on his shoulders.
In a sense, Chael Sonnen was patient and not so patient when he fought Anderson Silva. He smashed Silva for five rounds but got anxious toward the end and got caught.
Weidman cannot make those types of mistakes. He needs to understand that finishing a guy like Silva is not going to be an easy task. In fact, it may be one of the most difficult and frustrating tasks he will encounter.
Using his wrestling, ground-and-pound and possibly his submissions, Weidman needs to be patient. If he begins to get frantic and rush, he could leave an opening for Silva. And we all know how little Silva needs to change a fight.