Pride veteran Mario Sperry, a fifth-degree black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu, believes a Brazilian fighter could be the one to unseat UFC middleweight champion Chris Weidman.
However, he isn't referring to longtime 185-pound kingpin Anderson Silva.
Speaking one-on-one with Sherdog, the Brazilian Top Team founder stated that fellow grappling ace Ronaldo Souza is actually a worse matchup for "The All-American" than Silva is.
What does Weidman do best? Takedowns. What Jacare do best? Jiu-jitsu. So that's why I think Jacare would be more complicated. Against Jacare, Weidman would be insecure, unsure if the fight would unfold standing or on the ground. Against Anderson, he can expect to fight standing. And this unpredictability makes, for me, Jacare more dangerous for Weidman. Also, I´m really impressed the way Jacare is developing his MMA game. I see him training here every day. His ground game is amazing. He has dangerous weapons standing up, his cardio is absolutely impressive and his heart is scary. I see him with all the tools to be a champion.
While Sperry's opinion might not necessarily be a popular one among fight fans, it is impossible to deny that the former Strikeforce middleweight titleholder is on a roll.
Recognized as one of the best submission specialists of this era, the 33-year-old has won five fights in a row since losing the Strikeforce strap, with all of those victories coming via a knockout or submission.
While Souza looked impressive in his UFC debut in May, choking out Chris Camozzi with an arm triangle choke, he notched the biggest win of his career when he scored a TKO over former title challenger Yushin Okami at UFC Fight Night 28 earlier this month.
With his stunning upset KO over Silva at UFC 162, Weidman improved his professional mixed martial arts record to 10-0.
Prior to the loss, the legendary Brazilian striker, who is also a BJJ black belt, had won 17 fights in a row—including a UFC record of 10 successful middleweight title defenses.
According to the UFC's official middleweight rankings, Silva is ranked No. 1 and Souza is ranked No. 3.
Also worth noting is that while Sperry did not officially pick Weidman in his rematch with Silva at UFC 168, set for December 28 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena, he said the champ "will come even more prepared" the second time around.
Will Souza, who has trained with Silva at Black House MMA, be the one to take out the American titleholder some time in 2014?