Opinion: UFC 162 and Anderson Silva vs. Chris Weidman
By Jesse Heitz
Tomorrow, UFC 162 will be upon us. Many fight fans are gearing up for the bout that could very well see arguably the greatest active fighter, if not the greatest fighter of all time, in Anderson Silva dethroned by the surging Chris Weidman.
Many fans, fighters, and commentators, are surprisingly picking the 9-0 relative newcomer Weidman to upset the man that has utterly and totally decimated the ranks of the UFC’s Middleweight Division. Fighters such as Georges St-Pierre and Chael Sonnen, among others, have cast their vote in favor of the youngster.
In a recent interview with Sports Illustrated, Weidman stated,
“If I have to stand with him for five rounds, I’m ready to go after him. I’m not going to shy away. My roots are my wrestling. That’s where I came from. My wrestling and my jiu-jitsu will probably my biggest weapons in this fight.”
Current UFC Middleweight Champion, Anderson Silva, countered such a comment in a statement reported by Bleacher Report, stating,
“This isn’t wrestling, this is MMA. This isn’t Jiu-Jitsu, this is MMA. This isn’t Muay Thai, this is MMA.”
The champ is right on the money. We’re not talking about a one-dimensional sport; we’re talking about the complex and multi-faceted sport that is MMA. Many fight fans are quick to point out that Weidman is exceptionally talented in two very critical aspects of MMA. He’s a two-time NCAA All-American wrestler, and he’s beyond competent in the submission department. Add on that he’s undefeated and has put down the likes of: Demian Maia, Mark Munoz, and Tom Lawlor, and you have a credible threat.
Strangely enough, I find myself on the opposite side of that idea. Apparently I’m keeping company with Steven Seagal of all people, who in a recent interview published by Yahoo Sports, stated,
“People think, ‘Yeah man, I’ll get on top of Anderson.’ And look what happens when they do. All that being said, I believe Anderson’s a little bit faster. I think he has more experience. I think he has better timing. I think that he has better striking. The people can say what they want to say, and in this world, hey, anything can happen. But hey, on paper Anderson has the advantage, and for me, in the real world he has the advantage.”
We must be in some kind of alternate MMA reality that I would actually agree with Steven Seagal, the man who claims to have taught the greatest striker in the history of the sport the front snap kick. Yet, I do. Surprisingly enough, Mr. Seagal makes some sound points.
Let’s face it; a young fighter with a mere 9 fights is going to take on the greatest in the world. Weidman has beaten a few solid fighters, but Anderson has destroyed the division’s elite such as: Chael Sonnen, Yushin Okami, Rich Franklin, Dan Henderson, Demian Maia, Vitor Belfort, and the list goes on. He’s out-struck the finest of strikers, stuffed Olympic-caliber wrestlers, and negated the grappling talents of world champion submission specialists.
Weidman might be the best untested challenge for Anderson Silva at this point, but in reality what he brings to the table is not something that Anderson has never seen before. Can Weidman, after a year long layoff, rise up and unseat the champion? It’s possible, but I for one am not willing to make any wagers on such an outcome.