Projecting the Future of Chris Weidman in the UFC

Dan HiergesellFeatured ColumnistAugust 7, 2013

Jul 6, 2013; Las Vegas, NV, USA;  Chris Weidman celebrates after defeating Anderson Silva in their Middleweight Chamionship Bout in the second round with a TKO at the MGM Grand Garden Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports
Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Spor

There are moments in sports that not only evaporate the very oxygen in our lungs but forever challenge the laws of universal physics.

They are found few and far between, but occasionally, a brief spark of unbelievable excellence will manifest so greatly that it will bring about complete recognition of possibility and potential to our watchful eyes.

Even in an entity as punishing and unforgiving as mixed martial arts, these unprecedented occurrences contradict our collective beliefs and expectations when the skies open and the fight Gods allow them to shine.

This was never more true than after a beautifully crafted short left hook pulled Anderson Silva back down from the heavens and made Chris Weidman a storied Octagon warrior in a matter of seconds.

But beyond the glamorized spotlight of a media-crazed UFC community—usually driven by current ability instead of destined potential—what does the future hold for an unsung Long Island native coming off the most awe-inspiring, second-round finish in combat history?

For the sake of argument—everything.  But in a world as unpredictable as tomorrow, is any fighter's future truly cemented by certainty?

Some people find it difficult to crown Weidman as the new king.  For them, a knockout of the greatest fighter of all time doesn't suffice in a fight world currently fueled by rematches and win streaks. 

They feel as if Weidman's historic swing for the fences was sheer luck, having nothing to do with his preparation and raw heart.

These people cannot fathom the possibility that Silva's middleweight reign has come to an end and will never resurface.

But what does that have to do with the current champion? 

Didn't Weidman do everything he was supposed to do? 

Didn't he execute when his time came? 

Didn't he do it with the utmost professionalism and gratitude?

For the people that underestimate Weidman's worth as a power wrestler with evolving submissions and one-punch knockout ability, their day of reckoning will come.

Denying the potential of an undefeated champion coming off of the most prolific and sensational finish in recent memory is pitiful.  It holds no merit in today's game.

However, opinions are opinions.  Without them, every person in this world would be living and breathing robots.  So for Weidman to transform the beliefs and the inferior projections attached to his name, he'll have to do something he's already done; viciously defeat the former pound-for-pound king one last time.

Putting an end to a legend, even though he has presumably already done it, would launch Weidman into a whole other echelon of accomplished greatness.  His name will no longer be attached to words like fluke, fraud, lucky or beneficiary of standup cockiness.

Beating Silva again would reveal the true potential of Weidman in the UFC.  His youthful outlook on the sport and undeniable love for competition is exactly what champions are made of.  It's exactly what UFC fans want to see, exactly what his hometown New Yorkers can hang their hats on and precisely the calculated image that a guy like Weidman strives to attain.

Once he gets that monkey off his back, the sky is the limit.  As one of the weaker divisions in the UFC, Weidman has the chance to run amuck at middleweight.

Silva is on the fritz, Vitor Belfort can only fight in Brazil, Chael Sonnen's wrestling isn't strong enough and guys like Michael Bisping, Mark Munoz, Luke Rockhold, Ronaldo Souza and Tim Kennedy simply don't possess the skill set to defeat a 10-0 phenom.

Obviously anything is possible, but it's not like Weidman is a storied UFC vet.  He's still young, only has a fistful of Octagon fights under his belt, hasn't peaked as a striker and is on his way to becoming one of the best grapplers in the sport.

So to shun a guy for doing his job doesn't seem ethical, let alone practical.  The man is as good as they get, doesn't seem to be slowing up and is as hungry as he was before he turned a nervous night in Las Vegas into the most memorable six minutes of the last decade.


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