In a division where Anderson Silva reigns as king, slowly but surely a new contender is rising through the middleweight ranks. His name is Chris Weidman.
After having only four professional fights, the All-American wrestler entered the Octagon on short-notice and won a unanimous decision over a highly respected veteran in Alessio Sakara.
From there, the 27-year-old scored his first submission victory in the UFC when he met dangerous grappler Jesse Bongfeldt at UFC 131 with a fight ending guillotine choke.
Now, the Matt Serra protégé will look to up his record to 7-0 as he meets TUF 8 alum Tom Lawlor (7-3) on the Spike TV portion of UFC 139 on Saturday.
“I feel like I was ready to be in the UFC, when I got called up to be in the UFC to fight top guys at that point,” Weidman told MMAWeekly Radio.
“I feel like I’m growing a lot and I’m still in the UFC. There is a lot of learning to be done, but I’m definitely learning while I’m in the UFC. I have a lot more to work on and more to show in the UFC.”
Naturally one would consider with two All-American wrestlers that other skills will have to make the difference in a fight and that it will be an uphill battle for takedowns. Weidman, however, has faith in his wrestling ability and his ability to utilize his cardio to drain his opposition. At UFC 139, he will look to make Lawlor break before he does.
“I think my wrestling is on another level than Tom’s. If I really 100-percent want to take him down, I’ll get the takedowns. I’m not 100-percent thinking it’s going to be a straight stand-up battle thinking I can’t take him down or he can’t take me down.”
“I’m not going to change anything I’ve already done. I always go forward; I always push a heavy pace. One of the things I rely on the most is my cardio and my relentless pace, so I’m always going to push that and I know that the guy I’m fighting is going to break before I break. With doing that, I’m always going to consistently look for the knockouts and the submissions.”