Friday, June 24, 2011
Wiman climbs mountains in search of shot
By Chuck Mindenhall
If it looked like the rejuvenated Matt Wiman could have went 10 rounds against Cole Miller in January’s UFC "Fight for the Troops," well, then the picture clearly expressed a thousand words.
Before his camp heading into that fight, Wiman relocated from San Francisco -- where he trained with “Skrap Pack” members Jake Shields and Gilbert Melendez -- for something as conceptual as elevation and as novel as change. He ended up in Colorado, to train with the likes of little-known MMA entities Tyler Toner and Alvin Robinson at East Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu in suburban Arvada. He came out in Fort Hood, Texas for Miller like a wrecking ball, and he appeared just as fresh in the final minute as he was at the opening bell.
“I didn’t feel tired in the [Miller] fight because I think I’d been in top position -- that, and training at altitude maybe helped a bit,” Wiman told ESPN.com. “But I really think it was that I didn’t get put in bad positions as much as he did. If I’m carrying his weight and getting more damage, it’s going to wear me out, pushing him away and constantly taking damage. So I think that’s why I looked so in shape. That and obviously I trained really hard and tried to be prepared for anything.”
That win made it three in a row for the “Ultimate Fighter 5” member Wiman who, believe it or not, could begin popping up in 155-pound top-10 conversation if he duplicates the performance against Dennis Siver at UFC 132 in Las Vegas.
In mirroring fashion, Siver has also compiled a three-fight winning streak of his own after (somewhat improbably) thwarting George Sotiropolous at UFC 127 in his native Australia. Before the fight took place, Wiman put a call in to UFC matchmaker Joe Silva to request the winner, knowing full well that getting Sotiropoulos was a long shot. If he’d won that would have been eight in a row and title contention.
But if Siver sprung the upset? Hey, Wiman had himself an opponent. And that’s exactly what happened.
“I’m really looking forward to fighting Siver,” he said. “I was super impressed with his fight against Sotiropolous. He looked spectacular. He didn’t seem to tire very much. He stuck with the gameplan and executed it perfectly. His stand-up looked insane. His wrestling defense looked awesome. So, yeah, that’s the guy you want to fight.
“I think stylistically I match-up against him well. He’s a tough guy. He’s the guy to beat right now. He really is coming into his own where I think he’s the best fighter he’s ever been and I think I’m the best fighter I’ve ever been. I think it’s going to be a great fight.”
Given Wiman’s trajectory, it has the makings. His three recent wins versus Miller, Mac Danzig and Shane Nelson have been decisive, and the two losses before that -- against Sam Stout and Jim Miller -- were good enough to win "Fight of the night" bonuses. In other words, Wiman brings it. Every time.
“I guess if you’re going to lose the best way to go out is fight of the night versus just going out there and getting finished.”