The middleweight contender who has spent the better part of the last 7 months calling out UFC champion Anderson Silva appears to be on the precipice from getting his wish.
Following a night of upsets at UFC 156 that included former light heavyweight champion Rashad Evans going down to defeat, UFC President Dana White all but locked down a title fight between Silva and Weidman later this year.
Evans name got mentioned because he was a possible contender as well should he have won against Antonio Rogerio Nogueira at UFC 156. With a victory, Evans potentially would have drop to 185lbs and received an immediate title shot against Silva.
That’s all gone now however.
White did say he was always a fan of making the Weidman vs. Silva fight, but Evans’ loss just cleared the way to make it happen.
“I would have to say yes,” White answered at the UFC 156 post fight press conference when asked if Chris Weidman was next for Anderson Silva. “Going into this fight anyway we wanted to wait, we wanted to see what happens, and I liked (Chris) Weidman for this fight anyway, so yeah.”
Evans didn’t help his case with a lackluster performance to cap off the loss to Nogueira, which marked his second defeat in a row.
“Rashad looked worse than I’ve ever seen him tonight. He looked terrible,” said White.
All the talk for the past several months with Weidman calling out the champion was that Silva had no interest in the fight for varied reasons. Silva and his camp claimed that Weidman needed to do more to earn his shot, plus he was still relatively unknown at this stage of his career. Others said stylistically, Weidman’s wrestling and ground game were a natural kryptonite for Silva.
White contends however that Silva has never backed down from any fight the UFC has offered him, and he doesn’t expect anything different if the name on the bout agreement happens to say Chris Weidman.
“It’s always a process in dealing with Anderson and getting him his next fight. I don’t mean that in a negative way, it’s just I’m used to it. I know how this all goes. Everybody thinks he’s ducking (Weidman), I don’t know why he does this, he makes it look like he doesn’t want to fight Weidman,” said White.
“Believe me right here, right now when I tell you, Anderson Silva does not care who he fights. Whoever we end up coming up with him to fight, he will fight. There’s never been a situation where I’ve been with Anderson Silva where he’s said “I will absolutely not fight this guy” so, my long winded answer is yes (Weidman is next).”
Weidman is currently nursing his shoulder after having surgery late last year, but he expects to be ready to return in mid-summer and what’s likely to await him is his title shot against the most dominant champion in UFC history.