There aren’t any elaborate schemes or secretive game plans stored away as a hidden blueprint to defeat Silva. On December 28, fans can expect the same strategy from Weidman that helped him win the UFC middleweight title and shock the world back in July.
During his pre-fight interview for UFC 168, Weidman went ahead and saved Silva’s coaches the time and effort of doing any prolonged scouting:
I’m gonna prove it again. I’m telling Anderson Silva my game plan. This is my game plan. I’m gonna walk forward, I’m gonna put pressure on him, I’m gonna cut him off. If he has his hands down, I’m punching him in his face. If he has his hands up and he’s expecting me to punch him in his face, I’m taking him down. I’m not afraid to get hit. I’m going to be walking forward with my chin down and my teeth gritted, and I don’t care what he throws at me, I’m gonna be there.
When looking back at the first fight, the vast majority of fans seem to believe Weidman’s success was more a product of Silva not taking the fight seriously than an actual changing of the guard. Silva dropped his hands and playfully taunted Weidman before getting caught in the crosshairs of a massive left hook that put the punctuation mark on a near seven year reign.
What often gets lost in the debate was Silva’s struggles to actually connect in the standup exchanges.
Weidman is the only fighter in the UFC to really make himself a difficult target and consistently land on Silva. After the fight, Silva’s coach, Cesario Bezerra, told Brazil’s Globo TV (h/t MMAFighting.com) that even Silva admitted he struggled to land on Weidman. There was also the takedown and vicious ground-and-pound Silva was subjected to early in the first round.
All of this success from a 9-0 fighter coming off a year layoff from a serious shoulder injury against arguably the greatest fighter in MMA history.
It’s safe to say the champ’s confidence level is at an all-time high right now.
Will Weidman prove once again to be the perfect storm to repel Silva’s greatness, or is the undefeated star biting off more than he can chew?