In part I, the reasons why Chris Weidman might be successful at UFC 162 were explored. This second and final installment will focus on what may prevent him from becoming the UFC middleweight champion. A substantial proportion of the MMA community, relative to previous Anderson Silva fights, believe that the champion will lose his belt on Saturday night. However, those that side against Weidman usually site one reason, his inexperience. Weidman’s talent is irrefutable. What isn’t, is whether or not he is ready for a fight of this magnitude.
With less than ten professional fights on his record, Weidman is still somewhat green in the sport. It is also easy to forget that he basically became the number one contender by default as all potential adversaries for Silva started dropping like flies. Michael Bisping was being groomed for a title shot, all he had to do was get past Vitor Belfort and the opportunity was his. He consequently got knocked out and the UFC had to look elsewhere. With very few viable contenders at middleweight, light heavyweight stand-out Rashad Evans entered the discussion. However, he then suffered a lackluster loss to Antonio Rogerio Nogueira and the chance was gone. With essentially no other options the UFC turned to Weidman.
The step up in competition will be enormous for Weidman, his toughest tests to date have been Demian Maia and Mark Munoz. In an ideal world his title shot would have come further down the line, after he had gained more experience fighting in the upper echelon of the division. Fights with the likes of Yushin Okami and Michael Bisping would have provided a greater test of where he is at. As is he untested against the best in the world, it is difficult to classify him as anything other than a talented prospect.
If you are about the face the greatest fighter of all time, it isn’t exactly ideal to go into the fight with no big fight experience. Weidman has never even fought on the main card of a pay-per-view before and he is about to headline the biggest event of the year, a championship fight in Las Vegas against the pound-for-pound king. That is some jump to make.
For someone who is used to fighting without much hoopla, participating in an event of this significance could be a bit of a shock to the system. A baptism of fire like this will be a real test of his mental fortitude. The media obligations alone during fight week can be enough to drain a fighter mentally. As well as the pressure and nerves that come along with such a high profile bout. This particular fight, mentally, brings with it a certain x factor. That x factor is his opponent. Silva has a unique aura about him, an aura similar to what Mike Tyson possessed in his prime. When Tyson was at his murderous best, his opponents would be defeated by their own anxiety. The combination of fear and the likelihood of being embarrassed in front of millions would cripple them. The same can be said of Silva. He has the potential to make talented fighters look like clowns. Silva’s opponents have to face the fact that they may be romoshopped all over the internet the next day. Just making it to the fight with all his emotions in check could be a herculean task in itself.
As if the challenge wasn’t already difficult enough for Weidman, he is going to have to face the greatest fighter of all time coming of a one year hiatus and shoulder surgery. He will also have to beat him twice. Dana White has announced that should Silva lose, there will be an instant rematch.
Silva has never been beaten in the UFC, he has defended his middleweight title ten times, he is the pound-for-pound king and he is widely considered to be the greatest of all time. Can Weidman defeat that man and overcome all the obstacles presented in this article? Well on Saturday night at UFC 162 in Las Vegas we will find out if Chris Weidman is the man to dethrone the king.