Chris Weidman Carries Quiet Confidence into UFC 162 Battle with Anderson Silva

May 19, 2013
44 Comments

Chris WeidmanAfter just four years as a professional fighter, UFC middleweight Chris Weidman finds himself on the precipice of greatness when he meets MMA’s most decorated champion, Anderson “The Spider” Silva, at UFC 162 on July 6 in Las Vegas.

Since debuting for the UFC in 2006, Silva has become a household name around the world.  He is the company’s longest reigning champion, amassing an unheard of streak of 16 consecutive victories inside the Octagon, earning the consensus title of “Greatest of All-Time” in the process.

Currently standing at a record 10 title defenses, each time Silva steps into the cage he enters rarefied air that makes even the most accomplished champions blush.

Chris Weidman enters the cage in July an undefeated fighter, but with much less experience than the champion.

Having earned a five-fight winning streak inside the Octagon since making his promotional debut in 2011, Weidman has dispatched opponents using his Matt Serra purple belt-level jiu-jitsu, All-American wrestling, and ever-improving stand-up skills.

Just months before Weidman made his UFC debut, Anderson Silva made his seventh title defense in what became the toughest test of his now legendary career, when he battled Chael Sonnen in August 2010 at UFC 117.

Sonnen battered Silva for the majority of the 25 minutes, only to succumb to a fight-ending triangle choke with seconds left in the final round.

The bout is largely considered one of the greatest fights in MMA history, both for Sonnen’s domination of Silva, and also for Silva’s late-round heroics that kept his undefeated streak inside the Octagon alive.

For many, UFC 117 has become a “blueprint” on how to solve the fighting enigma that has become Anderson Silva.

With his showdown in the desert against Silva rapidly approaching, Weidman acknowledges the Sonnen fight has merit when looking at ways to defeat the champion, but he had confidence that he could defeat Silva even before that fight.

“I always thought I had better wrestling,” Weidman told MMAweekly.com during a recent media tour in support of UFC 162.

“I thought I had the length and athleticism to be aware on the feet to when I could strike for my takedowns and look to punch. And when I hit the ground, I always felt confident in my jiu-jitsu. So it wasn’t like I saw the Chael Sonnen fight and said, ‘Oh, my God! Look! I can beat him!’  It was way before that.”

Maybe that’s why Weidman has been calling for a Silva fight since early 2012.

It started innocently enough during a post-fight interview with Weidman respectfully claiming that he could give Silva problems if given the opportunity. The sound bite came on the heels of Weidman’s highlight-reel knockout of top-ranked Mark Munoz in July 2012 and marked one of the first times the historically tight-lipped New Yorker called out the middleweight champ.

Slowly, the soft-spoken grinder began campaigning more heavily for a fight with Silva.  As the months went by, his pleas for a title fight were falling on deaf ears.

At one point during the build-up, all hopes of a potential scrap were halted when Silva mentioned that he had no interest in fighting Weidman. Silva’s management cited “little name value,” when referencing the lesser-known challenger.

Weidman, however, thinks it was his skill, not promotional value, that prompted Silva to initially nix the bout.

“I think there are a couple of reasons (why Silva didn’t want to fight me). The number one reason, I am a terrible match-up for him,” stated the 28-year-old.

“On paper I think I have him beat in more areas than he has me beat. I don’t think he’s ever fought a guy who has him beat in as many areas as I do.  I’m young. I’m hungry. I don’t have the biggest name, so people are going to expect him to beat me. I think he knows being a smart guy and being around the MMA game that it’s not going to be an easy fight.“

Unfortunately for Weidman, Silva could not be deterred, and he was forced to move on in his still-blossoming career.

After his campaign for a chance at Silva failed, it was announced that Weidman would instead meet Tim Boetsch in December 2012 at UFC 155. Unfortunately, a shoulder injury forced Weidman to withdraw from the fight shortly after the bout agreements had been signed.

The injury, coupled with Silva’s unwillingness to fight, unquestionably added to Weidman’s brewing frustrations.

“Right after I beat Mark Munoz, and he beat Sonnen the second time, he said he wanted to fight again three months later,” Weidman proclaimed with a hint of displeasure.

“After I beat Mark Munoz, everyone was saying that was the fight to make (Silva vs. Weidman). UFC wanted to do it.  Then he said he wanted to wait until 2013 and take a break. So at that point, I got frustrated. I’m like, ‘what the heck are you doing; you need to take a break?’

“So I waited and got injured. I got matched up with Tim Boetsch and got injured again, and then other fighters started stepping up. So I figured, okay, I’ll probably be fighting again. So I figured I’d have to start getting back in shape and recover from my injuries to fight again.”

It was then that the universe intervened, opening a path of good fortune for the Baldwin, N.Y., native.

“Then everybody started losing,” he recalled.

“Every other contender lost and I was right back to where I started.  (Silva fought Bonnar) and now he has to fight again.  Now he has to take a fight against a middleweight, and I’m the only contender, and now he’s forced to fight me.”

It can’t be overstated how much Weidman’s fortunes changed in 2013.

On top of the aforementioned shoulder injury, Weidman also suffered extensive damage to his boyhood home in 2012 during the historic east coast storm Hurricane Sandy.

Those two events were preceded by the UFC on FOX 2 card in January, when Weidman took a fight with jiu-jitsu ace Demian Maia on just 10 days notice.

The bout with Maia saw Weidman battle a horrific 24-hour, 20-pound weight cut – a cut that came just days after he found a beloved relative dead during an unexpected house call.

Weidman chronicled the unfortunate scene during an interview with MMAWeekly.com at the 2012 World MMA Awards back in February.

“I took that fight on 10 days notice, and the next day my uncle dies,” he reflected.

“He doesn’t just die; he falls on his face down stairs – smashed his face in – and I had to clean up his blood.  And I actually didn’t go the funeral, I went to the wake,” Weidman said as tears welled in his eyes.

Admittedly, Weidman thought about cancelling the Maia fight.  And given the circumstances, no one would have blamed him.

Weidman didn’t turn away from life’s roadblocks, though. He instead went out and fought the ground-fighting wizard to a well-earned decision victory, with his uncle serving as a primary inspiration.

As they say, “adversity is the dust that polishes the diamond,” and as Weidman now reflects on a chaotic 2012, he sits on the cusp of the fight he has been waiting for his entire life – a fight that comes almost one year, to the day, after defeating Munoz.

“All that stuff just grew me as a person and as a fighter,” he proclaimed, adamant about using adversity as further motivation to achieve his ultimate goal of becoming a world champion.

“Just putting myself in tough positions, like, taking a 10-day notice fight against Demian Maia. I was not in shape at all. Had to cut all that weight. Even the Alessio Sakara fight I took on two-and-a-half-weeks notice (also, Weidman’s UFC debut). The fight before that, in Ring of Combat, I took (a fight) on two weeks notice against another tough guy,” he recalled.

“All those tough times, where you could make excuses for yourself on why you should lose, and then having the mental mindset to refuse those things entering my mind, and now I finally have an opportunity where everything looks perfect. I have a full training camp against the greatest of all-time. It’s been a dream since day one.  There’s no excuse for me to lose this fight.”

Some may label Weidman “green,” seeing he has just nine professional bouts on his record.  Lack of experience aside, Weidman already has one of the most important things a young fighter can attain, the ability to visualize any outcome and deal accordingly.

“I envision every different scenario, just so when I get in there, they’re no surprises,” said the Matt Serra product.

“I expect the worst of every situation, so if it does happen I’m prepared for it. I envision it going exactly the way I want: I punch him in the face, take him down, and submit him.

“I envision me knocking him out. I envision him stunning me – I’m barely out – I persevere and I end up finding a way to win.”

Weidman holds a degree in psychology from the University of Hofstra.  As a two-time All-American wrestler, he chose psychology as a hobby and a matter of convenience that eventually turned into a passion.

It’s a passion that should suit him well as he meets the notoriously frustrating Brazilian on July 6 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena.

“There could be a point said that he’s being cocky, or he’s trying to make people look bad,” said Weidman when referencing Silva’s propensity for in-cage taunting and unconventional antics.

“But the way I look at it is that he’s mentally breaking that guy. He’s mentally defeating him. (They think) this guy is so relaxed. He has his hands down. He’s pretending that he’s practicing different arts. When he fought Demian Maia, I think he was doing, like, drunken boxing, then he changed it up to something else.

“When you’re in the cage and you have your hands up, and you’re very structured and tense, and you see the guy you’re going against is doing that, it’s gonna freakin’ blow your mind.  Like, ‘Oh, my God! This guy is going to kill me whenever he wants!’ It might look like he’s being very cocky – which might be true a little bit –  (but) I think it’s definitely a bigger thing of mentally breaking them.”

So how does Weidman overcome the most perplexing, aggressive, and mentally cunning fighter to ever step inside the cage?

By doing what he knows best.

“I’m gonna be in his face, punching him, kicking him and looking for that takedown,” he declared.

“I just think my skill-set might be a better match-up. I think I’m going to stay more relaxed than Sonnen did, and I think that’s going to be the difference.  I get on top of him and it’s going to be a relaxed, consistent aggression of submissions.

“It’s not just going to be me uptight and tense, and punching in every situation. It’s going to be picked spots of devastating ground and pound and then submission attempts.”

Weidman is quick to adorn Silva with praise, and equally quick to assure any possible slight of Silva will be met with a “not to take anything away” or “with all respect to.”

It’s a rare trait that Weidman possesses: to be able to devalue and praise someone at the exact same time.

Perhaps the hesitation is, in part, because Weidman self-identifies as being a respectful guy.

This, however, is the fight game – the entertainment business – something Weidman is keenly aware of.

“I guess I have be a little bit more vocal,” he announced matter-of-factly.

“This is to support my family and if I have to be a little bit more vocal then I’m going to do it, even if it doesn’t come naturally and it’s not really my style.”

Weidman straddles the line of confidence and cocky quite well, even if he’s forcing some of it.

When talk of a rematch began – if he is victorious – Weidman let it be known that with MMA legalization hopefully passing soon in New York State, he would love to do a second fight with Silva at the mecca of American sporting arenas, Madison Square Garden.

“Listen, I’m not even being cocky or arrogant when I say I’ll give him an immediate rematch,” stated Weidman.

“You have to believe you’re going to win; I believe I’m going to win. He’s had 10 title defenses. His only option, after I beat him, is to retire or have a rematch with me.”

With all due respect, of course.

(Follow @RyanMcKinnell on Twitter)

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  • John A

    Weidman will get the chance to execute his well-prepared game plans against Silva on fight night. And then he’ll get KO’d in the first round.

  • dan

    Quiet confidence??? Who writes this stuff? The guy hasn’t shut up about beating Silva or Silva ducking him for like a year. If anything he could trying being quiet and humble for once.

    • woody g

      Exactly! Great point…I love a hood underdog winning but its hard to get behind Chris when he cones off so arrogant and cocky and still has no clue if what its like to face Silva. It feels like he’s trying too hard to imitate chael but failing miserably. Chael has the charisma to pull it off.
      Chris just sounds disrespectful and cocky. If he loses in the first round he will disappear in the shuffle and have a long way to ho to get back in the picture. Be humble but confident and go take care of business.

      • jimmy

        woody, i understand the whines, i really do, but can we stop with the whole Weidman is starting to sound too cocky thing?

        what’s wrong with having absolute confidence in yourself to be able to achieve things you’ve committed yourself to? much like Jon Jones, the opinions of all those around them seem to be of great humility, respect, and a commitment to maximize their physical and psychological attributes.

        Even Chael, after spending time with Jones realized this and had nothing but compliments leading up to the fight, which is very un-chael like.

        Weidman(Jones for that matter as well) is very clear and honest with his thoughts and doesn’t come off as someone like a Tito Ortiz or some other outspoken dipshet. Plus, he’s got a degree in Psychology, i’m sure he’s educated enough to know guys tend to play mind games with themselves to attain false self confidence, and he definitely doesn’t come off as if he’s trying to hype himself at all. Hence, the “quiet confidence”.

        There’s “something” about him and a cocky, douchey vibe is not something people usually mention when talking about either Jones or Weidman.

    • DamianCross

      He hasn’t disrespected Silva though, not like Sonnen. He hasn’t decried the champs skills or talked about him as a person, he just feels his style counters Silva’s and that is all he’s said. He didn’t even bash Silva for no-showing the press obligation. I don’t blame him for being confident at all.

  • tyrone

    I believe weidman will win this by 1st round ground and pound ko,as long as he doesn’t respect silva too much.

    • woodyg

      Ya , not respecting Silva is really smart. Apparently you’ve never been in a fight for break it in mma or in anything . Not respecting your opponent is always a great strategy! Lol
      Well …..I guess in WWE its great! Lol obviously
      Your a big fan of Wwe or tnt or whatever fake wrestling initials there are. Not respecting the punching, kicking, jujitsu and intelligence of the worlds greatest fighter is really a stoopid idea.
      Hopefully your not Chris coach Lol.

      • DamianCross

        He means he should come forward against Silva instead of playing defensive and staying in his range. And he’s 100% right.

        • gnodeb

          You mean like Forrest Griffin or Chris Leben?
          If we are trying to be intelligent… L&P is the best strategy against AS.

          • DamianCross

            Like Ryo Chonan. Chonan made a mockery of Silva’s striking and kept coming forward. Sonnen did too, but he’s an idiot and wasted time “spanking” him instead of finishing.

          • gnodeb

            you mean this?
            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cyth7pxQLuI

            All I see is an epic come back by Chonan…

          • DamianCross

            Then you need to watch the whole fight.

      • tyrone

        You misspelled “stupid “,now that says alot

        • Blahafox

          Some guys get on here to discuss fighting and their opinions on different fighters. Some people have no clue about MMA so is all they can do is correct typos.

          • tyrone

            No typo. He put 2 “o “s, instead of 1 “u “. I guess you didn’t pick up on that cause you are —–.

    • Mike mckinney

      Right, because ground and pound ko’s happen all the time…
      It’s pretty rare to see a guy take someone down in the 1st round, and ko him.
      Of course that’s what is going to happen to silva.

  • Cereal Killer

    This guys beats Silva in more places than he beats him? Is he delusional! You’re a better wrestler, that’s it! The only time this fight goes to the mat, is when Silva Knocks you unconscious.

  • Lucas Freire

    ” “Listen, I’m not even being cocky or arrogant when I say I’ll give him an immediate rematch,” stated Weidman”

    I give him some kudos for believing in himself.

    But it won’t matter once he sees Anderson dodging every single punch he throws and stuffing his takedown attempts.

    • http://www.mmamadman.com/ Chase Brian Beebe

      Anderson can’t stuff a takedown to save his life

      • Lucas Freire

        ufc.com/fighter/anderson-Silva

        I don’t know if the UFC website is a reliable source…but there it says he has 81% of success on Takedown Defense.
        But haters gonna hate right?

        • http://www.mmamadman.com/ Chase Brian Beebe

          you said he would dodge every punch weidman throws thats possible but to say he will stuff his takedowns? You’re dreaming

        • DamianCross

          Actually I doubt that statistic very, very much.

          • Lucas Freire

            Up to this day he got taken down 10 times in the UFC.

  • tyrone

    Silva watched weidman destroy munoz easily, and silva struggled with munoz in sparring, so much so that munoz started calling out silva.silva was actually in process of ducking munoz til weidman destroyed munoz.weidman gonna pop that cherry

    • uncle

      Silva ducking Munoz last time I checked Munoz got injured and that’s what kept him out the title
      picture and its just a sparring session, not a real
      fight if Munoz had so much striking skills he should be undisputed also Weidman is going to
      be Anderson’s slave he is not ready

    • woodyg

      According to who?? Cmon, people say whatever.. with no sources to back it up.
      I don’t remember anything anywhere about Silva ducking Munoz ….or any source stating Silva was having problems with Munoz sparring. Use your head .
      All this false bravado with Weidman reminds me if Rockhold and Vitor. Let Chris back it up in the cage otherwise its false bravado and weak hype.
      If Chris beats him …great for Chris but odds are against him until he actually beats silva .

      • toom

        finally someone who isn’t foolish

      • tyrone

        I distinctly remember silva acting like he was in a state of disbelief when munoz called him out.silva stating we are friends and i dont understand munoz calling me out. That sounds like “ducking “to me. You a fighter, then fight

    • toom

      I’m tired of hearing.that it’s wrong no one looks things up they just believe what they hear look up what actually happened

  • http://www.CombatScienceMMA.com/ CombatScienceMMA

    Every guy Anderson fights is the next guy to beat him. Most people are just hating on Silva because of his success. The only thing left to say about Silva if he wins against Weidman is that he’s ducking Jon Jones if he doesn’t answer questions at the post fight conference on fighting him. I think Weidman has potential but I don’t like all the talk he’s doing. A guy with 9 total fights is fighting not only a guy with 37 total MMA fights but a guy who has gone up in weight 3 times in the UFC. I don’t wish anything bad on Weidman in life but I do hope Silva wins in an impressive fashion to see what all the fans have to say after. What does suck though is that if Weidman does win; some people are going to talk about him as if he’s nothing.

    • uncle

      You are right when Anderson beats Weidman then they will say he only had 9 fights but
      fighting Jones and beating him will cement
      Silva’s legacy for sure

      • Joe

        I agree with you both, I think Chris beating Anderson would be as big of an upset as Serra beating GSP, and the title reign would last about half as long

  • Giovanni

    LOL This kid is delusional. The only reason he could win is because “upsets” are bound to happen and in this cocky moron’s case even a fluke. For him to say he thought he could beat Silva even before the first Sonnen fight is just plain stupid and being in denial. Of course the Sonnen fight is the only thing that gives him confidence; but don’t say you’re a better wrestler than Sonnen, because even if you were, you’re not gonna beat Silva using the same strategy Sonnen used.
    Plus, who has this kid beat? A bunch of nobodies really. Mark Muños an over rated fighter, Damian Mia which was a pretty even fight and then who else, nobody. When this kid gets his ass handed to him I’m gonna laugh so hard on his face, it’ll be no joke. I’ll humiliate him with all the humiliating words I can find he will start crying…LOL

    The minute he eats Silva’s first punch he’s gonna crap his pants! LOL

    Anyway getting long winded here — can’t wait for this one to be over with and have Silva face some real competition not some nobody who was the UFC’s last resort because all the morons (bisping, belcher and rockhold) couldn’t live up to their hype.

    I hope Weidman injures himself again and Vitor gets the shot he deserves.

    • Genocide24

      In the Belfort fight Silva got lucky. I hope the do fight again.Silva hasn’t fought anyone with the speed and power that Vitor has in his hands. And i dont think anyone will argue the fact that Silva would be able to take too many shots from him without being KO’D.

      • mikey

        if your talking about how anderson dodged out of the way of every single fast punch vitor threw and then kicked vitor on the chin knocking him out in the 1st then the word your looking for is talent not lucky :)

        • Genocide24

          that was a kick that landed flush. would it happen again if they fought? doubt it. that fight wasnt long enough to really determine anything let them fight again.oh wait..Silva dosent have the balls. he’s already said he dont like fighting other brazillians and now “name value” is a factor with who he fights. He’s a disgrace as a champion. Anybody can look good and awesome if they are being allowed to pick their own fights.

      • gnodeb

        Silva is so lucky that he should stop train & fight and just focus on gambling. With 17 wins in a row it must be obvious. He can not be out-lucked.

        • Genocide24

          17 wins in a row really dont mean anything if your not fighting quality or #1 ranked contenders.Now if your not the champ, yeah that is impressive. 17 wins wow yeah. go back and look at whos hes fought since being the champ. not counting his little jumps to LHW then tell me how many of those were ACTUAL contenders

          • gnodeb

            What are you trying to say? That AS is hiding in some local promotion fighting cans? I was under impression that he is in the UFC, he took title back in 2006 and he CLEANED that division so thoroughly that he had to fight at LHW for fun.

            How can you say he didn’t fought quality opponents while there is nobody he didn’t fight? That division is cleaned…

    • hybe

      You’re so full of s***, I don’t know where to start! You’re obviously a huge Silva nuthugger, and if you’re not scared s***less of the tools Weidman bring to the fight, you shouldn’t even watch mma, let alone post your worthless comments on any forum!

    • gnodeb

      I think Weidman already got what he was aiming for. It’s going to be a biggest paycheck in his life after 1 year of lay off. No matter how badly he perform, he is a winner… and still, there is a slim chance of winning this thing.
      Sonnen done that twice and was “humiliated” twice… look at him… he doesn’t care… You can not lose title fight if you didn’t deserve it in the first place.

  • mikey

    Widemen doesnt have the experience to understand all the ways silva will make him feel like an amature before knocking him out, the strong campain for wiedmen is to encourage betting action, this fight reminds me of gsp – hardy A complete miss-match

  • Mike Hodgkinson

    My money is on Weidman upsetting Silva and taking the title.

    • Mike mckinney

      Are you just saying that, or are you taking action?