UFC 175: Chris Weidman Confident He’ll Finish “The Dragon” and Prevent a Second Machida Era
By Kelsey Mowatt
At a time when the Ultimate Fighting Championship’s schedule does not include big draws like Anderson Silva, Georges St-Pierre and now Chael Sonnen, comes an event that will feature a potential superstar in Chris Weidman. After all, not only is Weidman a former All-American wrestler with a marketable disposition, he’s coming off not one, but two victories over the legendary Silva.
The argument has been made that the UFC could use a lengthy title run from Weidman, at a time when the promotion is lacking star power, and reportedly pay-per-view buys. If Weidman can continue his rise up the pound-for-pound rankings, and even approach the level of success that GSP or Silva had, one would think a superstar will be born.
Of course, before any of this can happen, in the short term future anyways, Weidman will have to get through Lyoto Machida Saturday night. A man, who not that long ago really, ruled the light-heavyweight division and was considered to be among the best of the best.
“To be the man, you have to beat the man. Weidman did it twice. I think Weidman’s the best, not only at 185, but could be at 205,” UFC commentator and light-heavyweight Daniel Cormier noted on FOX Sports 1’s “UFC Tonight”. “But Lyoto Machida is the anti-wrestler. Machida has a really sneaky way to keep you from getting him down. This will be a very close fight. For Weidman, he needs to keep his front foot on the outside of Machida’s foot – it’s boxing 101 – whoever has the outside foot, leads the dance. He finds his angle and punch, punch, and makes Lyoto reset his feet and then he can attack the takedown. If he gets the takedown, he’s a great grappler from the top and has to control fight from there.”
Although it’s been over four years since the Machida era came to an and, when “Shogun” Rua handed him his first defeat at UFC 113, the former champ is hoping to begin another. For years, Machida shrugged off talk of moving to middleweight, since his friend and teammate in Silva, was the reigning champ. Since making the drop last year, however, Machida has done nothing but impress, as many people predicted would be the case.
“I think Machida is the toughest test for me in the division,” Weidman relayed on “UFC Tonight”, while crediting the Brazilian star. “Tougher than Anderson – Anderson has a mental edge on most his opponents. Machida is more well-rounded, has better wrestling, and he’s more elusive. He’s not afraid to win a boring decision. I have to maintain my patience, but stay aggressive.”
While Silva remains the consensus “Greatest of All Time” fighter, few would disagree with Cormier’s contention, that Machida is an “anti-wrestler.” This in theory, could make Machida a much more difficult challenge for Weidman, who was able to take Silva down in both of their encounters.
“I’m going to mix it up,” said Weidman, while discussing the keys to victory on Saturday night. “It’s all about deception, it’s physical game of chess. I expect to hit him and he’ll still be there. I always expect to go through tough times in a fight, but hope for the best.”
“I got a full training camp and I will finish the fight.”
And how that “physical game of chess” plays out, could have profound implications on the UFC’s middleweight division and box office over the coming months.
UFC 175 will be hosted by the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas, and will also feature bantamweight champ Ronda Rousey taking on Alexis Davis.