Friday, August 17, 2012
It's destiny calling for Chris Weidman
By Franklin McNeil
Hold tight: Chris Weidman feels his name is at or near the top of the list for next on Anderson Silva.
As far as UFC middleweight contender Chris Weidman is concerned it’s a matter of when, not if, he will be in the Octagon opposite champion Anderson Silva. And when that moment arrives, Weidman believes his destiny will be realized. Weidman is so confident he’ll unseat Silva that he is willing to wait for the champ to end his hiatus.
Silva decided recently to sit out the remainder of 2012. A date hasn’t been scheduled for his 2013 debut, nor has a challenger been revealed.
There are a few fighters who are clearly on the short list of potential challengers -- welterweight champion Georges St. Pierre, middleweight contender Michael Bisping (if he gets past Brian Stann next month in Toronto) and, of course, Weidman.
Weidman won’t do anything silly, like staying inactive for too long a period. He knows his turn is coming and he intends to seize the moment.
“I’m waiting to talk to [UFC president] Dana White and learn what they want me to do,” the 28-year-old Weidman told ESPN.com. “I’m down to do whatever they want.
“The second they tell me to worry about someone else I will. But as far as I’m concerned it’s all about Anderson Silva right now. I’m young. I’m not going to sit out and waste my youth.”
Every one of Weidman's accomplishments inside the Octagon -- including a 9-0 record and defeating each man the UFC has put in front of him -- has been a dress rehearsal for his eventual 185-pound title bout.
The only thing Silva can do to prevent this young lion from possibly dethroning him is avoid a fight -- and ducking isn't in Silva’s DNA.
They will fight eventually and Weidman pictures his hand being raised when it is over. And to all the naysayers, Weidman’s already heard from those who have dismissed his chances.
“I’ve been thinking about this fight for three years,” Weidman said. “When anyone would ask me which weight class I plan to compete in, I’d say 185. They’d say, ‘my god, isn’t that Anderson Silva’s weight class? You’re going to get killed. You better switch weight classes now.’ That's what motivated me.”
Based on what Weidman has shown inside the Octagon nobody can reasonably question his physical ability or that he poses a threat to Silva. What some might attempt to bring up instead is the limited number of fights he’s had under the Zuffa banner.
But Weidman has this strong response: “Anderson had one fight [in the UFC] when he got his title shot. He beat Chris Leben.
“Mark Munoz knocked out the last guy he beat [Leben] before I knocked him out. I’ve beaten more top-10 guys than [Silva] beat when he fought for the title. I know where I’m at, there’s no reason to wait.
“I have five [UFC] wins in a row. I know I only have nine fights but they’ve all been against tough guys. I’m definitely ready. I got up here pretty fast, and I’m ready to finally get him. Obviously I want to defeat him and take the belt.”
And unlike previous challengers to Silva’s crown, Weidman won’t be at a disadvantage anywhere in the cage.
“I’m definitely confident in myself,” Weidman said. “I’m a bigger guy. I pose a lot of threats to Anderson Silva.
“He hasn’t seen a guy like me before -- my athletic ability, my wrestling, my jiu-jitsu, my size and my length. In all categories he hasn’t seen an athlete like me.”
Now don’t get it twisted, Weidman respects Silva and what he’s amassed in his brilliant career. Weidman just knows that it’s his time to rule the middleweight division. It’s his destiny.