Chris Weidman, widely regarded as the top contender in the UFC middleweight division, is fighting in December, but it won’t be against 185-pound champion Anderson Silva… and it doesn’t look like that fight is coming down the pike anytime soon.
Despite sporting a 9-0 record and defeating Demian Maia and Mark Munoz back-to-back, Weidman still finds himself on the outside looking in on a title shot. Instead of challenging the champ, he steps into the Octagon at UFC 155 in December to face rising contender Tim Boetsch.
Weidman is one of those guys that has stepped up whenever asked, fighting anyone the UFC throws in front of him, but the fact that Silva doesn’t currently want to fight him and the UFC isn’t making a push for the bout either has definitely elevated the New Yorker’s level of frustration.
“It sucks. I took a lot of risks in my career to get to the point where I’m the No. 1 contender,” Weidman said in a UFC Tonight interview recently. “Then for the champion – who is the man, I have nothing bad to say about him – kind of dodging me a little bit. It’s tough.”
Weidman isn’t a trash talker and won’t disrespect Silva as a fighter, but he’s been pushed to the point where he can hardly deny that it seems like the champ is avoiding him.
“It seems like that at this point,” Weidman replied when asked outright if he thought Silva was ducking him.
Silva is openly avoiding a fight with Weidman, but whether or not that constitutes “ducking” him is in the semantics of the situation.
Silva’s legend has grown to epic proportions over the past couple of years. He’s coming off of back-to-back dominating performances over Chael Sonnen and Stephan Bonnar, the latter a one-off 205-pound fight to help keep UFC 153 intact.
To hear Silva’s side of the story, at 37 years of age, he is merely looking for the biggest fights he can get as his career enters its twilight years.
“I don’t have any intention of fighting (Weidman),” Silva declared after decimating Bonnar. “I think he still has a lot to do in the UFC. I am 37 years old; he’s a kid that is starting.
“Obviously, this might happen, but I have two fights on my contract and I think one of them will be with St-Pierre and I don’t really have any intention of fighting with (Weidman) because I’m not a fool. I’m already an oldie, you know?”
Silva’s words echoed those of his manager, Ed Soares, who pointed to the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that exists for a superfight between Silva and UFC welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre, who are widely regarded as the No. 1 and No. 2 pound-for-pound top fighters in the world.
“A superfight like that I think is going to be the biggest fight,” Soares said on MMAWeekly Radio. “I think a lot of fans want to watch it and I think it will be a highlight for both of their careers. I think that the superfight is definitely a big challenge, fighting someone like Georges St-Pierre.”
UFC president Dana White says that Anderson Silva vs. Georges St-Pierre is still “just talk, it’s not reality.” And until bout agreements are signed, that is true, but the undertones are there for the fight to be just over the horizon.
The UFC has been itching to do an event at Cowboys Stadium in Dallas, but it would take just the right fight to make it happen.
“We are definitely planning on doing a big fight there,” said White this week. “As soon as we can make that big fight where we feel like we could sell close to a 100,000 or 100,000 tickets.”
Realistically, the only fight that could draw a crowd of 100,000 is Anderson Silva vs. Georges St-Pierre.
St-Pierre first has to face Carlos Condit at UFC 154 on Nov. 17. He’s also indicated that there are still challenges for him at welterweight first, but a fight of the magnitude of Silva vs. GSP doesn’t come along but once in a lifetime. The opportunity that exists if St-Pierre defeats Condit could slip away in an instant if he doesn’t pounce on it.
How things play out hinges on St-Pierre vs. Condit… but no pressure Georges.
If Condit wins the fight, the perspective changes on several fronts. The superfight disappears and the prospect of Weidman finally getting his title shot resurfaces, as long as he gets past Boetsch. The UFC 154 No. 1 welterweight contender fight between Johny Hendricks and Martin Kampmann maintains its significance.
While everyone wants answers now, the next step towards clarity won’t come until Nov. 17 in Montreal.
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