To the surprise of no one, it looks like UFC middleweight champion Chris Weidman's striking coach, Ray Longo, has all the confidence in the world in his prized pupil heading into his rematch with Anderson Silva at UFC 168.
Speaking to Ariel Helwani on yesterday's edition of The MMA Hour, per MMA Fighting, Longo explained that in his eyes, this fight camp went perfectly and he sees "The All-American" winning this bout any way he wants.
"Listen, he's ready to go tomorrow. So, we're ready. As of right now I could tell you I wish the fight was Saturday. We got a little extra leeway and if he wants to do some interviews at this point, no harm done. His weight is perfect, He's been an animal in the gym. His sparring is perfect. Everything is point-on. We're looking for a great fight. ... I think we're looking at a submission this time. Let's diversify!" Longo said jokingly. "I think there's a good chance, yeah. [Weidman] looks point-on with everything. Whatever he feels like doing, I think he can take this fight wherever he wants to. We know we're going to play to our strengths like we normally would and I think we'll have to wait and see what happens."
Weidman, a two-time All-American wrestler at Hofstra University, enters the title tilt with a perfect 10-0 record as a professional mixed martial artist.
The 29-year-old Baldwin, New York native became the first fighter to knock out Silva in 38 professional fights, delivering "The Spider" his first loss of any kind in seven-and-a-half years.
Prior to the stunning upset, the legendary Brazilian competitor had won 17 bouts in a row, including a UFC record of 10 consecutive successful middleweight title defenses.
Regardless who wins Weidman vs. Silva II, there will not be a trilogy fight, at least not immediately. UFC President Dana White has signed off on giving ex-light heavyweight champ Vitor Belfort the next crack at the middleweight belt, via FOX Sports.
Belfort is in the midst of a three-fight win streak, all coming via knockout, though he suffered a vicious KO when he faced Silva for the middleweight title at UFC 126 in February 2011.
Will Weidman's high-level grappling and underrated striking again prove to be too much for Silva on December 28, or will Silva's diversified power strikes get the job done at least one more time?