The strong statement came from Jorge Guimaraes, who is a co-manager of UFC middleweight king Anderson Silva, when speaking to Tatame.com about the prospects hoping to next face his fighter in the Octagon.
“That’s a big joke,” Guimaraes said about Chris Weidman and his fellow middleweight contenders. “Anderson has the biggest paycheck in the UFC and you can’t promote and event with these amateur kids that are coming up now.”
Needless to say Weidman didn’t take too kindly to Guimaraes’ words about him or the other top ten middleweights vying to face Silva in the cage.
“I read them and it’s kind of crazy. The managers they have no right to start putting down professional athletes. He put me, and (Alan) Belcher, and (Tim) Boetsch down and he’s trying to draw attention away from the fact that I’m the No. 1 contender, and then called us amateurs, and we’re all top ten fighters,” Weidman told MMAWeekly.com when reached for comment.
“This is what we do for a living and then you have some manager in Brazil who’s calling us amateur fighters and calls me a joke, it’s definitely a little crazy and I know I wouldn’t want my manager speaking about other fighters like that.”
As a matter of fact, Weidman’s manager David Martin declined to comment on the story all together and simply left the talking up to his fighter who is the one competing in the Octagon.
Weidman believes there is a bigger conspiracy going on because the names that Silva’s managers continue to mention include UFC welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre, Strikeforce champion Luke Rockhold, and after Friday night they even found interest in a potential bout against UFC bad boy Nick Diaz.
“It’s like they’re trying to avoid my name being mentioned at all for the title shot. They’re trying to deflect with other guy’s names so people can start thinking about them as possibilities, but even guys they’re choosing to call out like GSP or (Nick) Diaz, they’re both welterweights,” Weidman stated.
The fact is right now St-Pierre, Diaz and Rockhold are unrealistic in terms of fights for Silva to take at least in the next 8 to 10 months. Weidman is quick to point out he has nothing but the utmost respect for all three fighters, but right now none of them fit into the immediate picture for a bout with Anderson Silva.
“I mean GSP, let’s start with him. The guy is coming off ACL surgery, we don’t even know for sure when he’s fighting, and when he does fight he’s fighting Carlos Condit for the welterweight title. You never know what’s going to happen and best-case scenario he could fight again around May. So if anything, fight me next, if you beat me then you get your shot with GSP. You’re just calling out a 170lber coming off ACL surgery,” Weidman fired back.
“Then Nick Diaz, he’s another guy he’d have a size advantage over, he’s another good name but the guy’s not going to be cleared till February. That’s just crazy. Nothing to say about me, who has proven to be the No. 1 contender. I beat two top five guys in the division in a row, and no one’s come close to doing that, especially in the fashion I did in my last fight against Mark Munoz.”
The third name mentioned by Silva’s camp, Luke Rockhold, is a legitimate middleweight and currently the Strikeforce champion at 185lbs, but he cannot move to the UFC for at least the next 18 months while the company is under contract with Showtime.
Silva’s representatives have also stated that he’s not looking to fight at a higher weight class than 185lbs again, so it’s either middleweight or bust for the longest reigning champion in UFC history.
“The guy’s a champion of 185, he should be fighting the contenders. You don’t call out guys that aren’t going to be able to fight forever and guys that are lighter than you. Why don’t you call out Jon Jones? That makes sense, I’m sure a lot of people would watch, I’d love to watch too. If you’re not going to fight him, fight me, I’m ready to go,” Weidman stated.
The other concern raised by Silva’s camp was the ability to promote a fight between their client and a fighter like Weidman, who isn’t as widely known or outspoken as say his last opponent Chael Sonnen.
Weidman puts his faith in UFC President Dana White and knows that the UFC can promote a fight with him and Silva just fine, and he’s ready to step up to the challenge.
“Dana White’s the best promoter in the world and I have full confidence that he’d be able to promote the fight just fine,” said Weidman. “I’m undefeated, every time I’ve had a full camp I’ve finished my opponent. You’ve got Anderson Silva, the No. 1 guy in the UFC right now, and just him alone is fine, and it just makes no sense what he’s saying. The manager’s not showing enough faith in the UFC and Dana White in the way they can promote the fight.”
The one person who has yet to make a statement about this entire situation is the UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva. While his managers have talked about what fights make the most sense, the reigning and defending king of the 185lb division hasn’t said much in terms of what interests him or if he’s opposed to facing Weidman in the Octagon.
“I have nothing but respect for Anderson Silva, and I would expect him to want to fight the best guy and the guy who’s going to give him the toughest challenge. If it was up to him, I think he would want to fight me because I am the toughest challenge. But his managers I feel like they are trying to keep me away from it and try to make me irrelevant enough in the title picture with Anderson Silva,” Weidman said.
“When you talk to Ed Soares and the other guy, it’s as though I’m not in the picture at all.”
There’s no doubt that Weidman is fired up about the entire situation, but he makes one thing very clear when discussing anything to do with the UFC middleweight title picture. While his dream is to fight for the title, Weidman is a company man and will do whatever the UFC asks him to do.
If that’s face Anderson Silva later this year, Weidman will gladly sign the dotted line. If it’s another fight, Weidman will gladly participate in that endeavor as well.
“If the UFC tells me tomorrow that I’m fighting someone else, I have no problem. I fight for the UFC, whatever they tell me to do, I’m going to do. My goal is to be the champion and I feel like I’m in a position where I have the chance to become the champion, it’s me trying to chase my goal,” said Weidman.
“If the UFC tells me 20 minutes from now that the Anderson Silva fight isn’t going to happen, and I need to fight someone else, I might be upset for a couple of minutes, but I’ll move on. I just feel like I’m the No. 1 contender right now and I feel like the champion should fight the No. 1 contender.”
And that’s the bottom line that Weidman wants everyone from Anderson Silva to his managers to the fans to the UFC executives to understand. He has proven in the cage that he’s the toughest challenge still standing in the UFC middleweight division, and Weidman is ready to show Anderson Silva as well.
“I feel like I’ve made it blatantly obvious with this last fight that I’m ahead of the pack,” said Weidman. “The champ should want to fight that guy.”