UFC stars predict Silva vs Weidman

Diabolical marketing hype or well-educated predictions? Either
way, it’s remarkable to see so many high-profile UFC stars go on
record picking a 9-0 underdog in Chris Weidman. And it’s even more
remarkable they’re choosing a man facing the undeniable G.O.A.T.,
Anderson Silva.

“Every fighter out there that I’ve talked to and every
fighter we’ve interviewed thinks Weidman is going to beat
Anderson,” said UFC President Dana White of
UFC 162. “These are the guys who know the
sport, the pros, and they are all saying Weidman could really shock
the world.”

Without further ado, here are the UFC stars who have tried their
hand at being UFC prophets:


Chael Sonnen (two-time title UFC middleweight title
challenger to Anderson Silva)



“Listen, he has two wins over me, it does me no good
at all to bash Anderson publically now that our thing is over. But
that’s not what I am doing here. I think Anderson is an
excellent fighter, an awesome fighter, but he’s just not
winning this fight.

“I think Weidman takes Anderson down at will, I think he
blows past Anderson’s guard, and I think he finishes him.
Taking Anderson down isn’t a hard thing to do. Chris will get
to Anderson’s head, hurt him with ground and pound, and
submit Anderson within three rounds with a D’arce choke or
similar. Weidman is a younger version of me – and a better version
when it comes to aspects like top game. I took Anderson down
repeatedly, and while I punched him all night, I don’t have
the submissions Weidman has. Weidman is going to have the same
success I had with a ground attack but then he’s going to
choke Anderson.

“The seven-year reign is over. That’s genuinely what
I feel.”


Ronda Rousey (reigning UFC women’s bantamweight
champion)



“I think Anderson Silva is the best pound-for-pound
fighter in the world, but Weidman is the absolute worst possible
matchup for him. It’ll definitely be interesting and I’m
excited to see what happens on the night.”


Matt Serra (former UFC welterweight champion, trains BJJ with
Weidman)



“Chris is going to shock a lot of people. The
combination of Chris’s skillset, which is a bad matchup for
Anderson on any day, and his mentality to win is going to result in
a huge win. Everyone sees what this kid has skill-wise, and Chris
doesn’t take ‘no’ for an answer. He’s a
beast, he’s an animal. He will take this fight to Anderson
Silva – but unlike some of the other guys, he will do it with
aggression and skills. He’s the complete fighter to beat
Anderson.”


Miesha Tate (former women’s bantamweight champion,
No.3 UFC contender)



“Chael Sonnen almost beat Anderson based on being a
wrestler. And Weidman is a more dynamic wrestler than Sonnen
– and Weidman doesn’t get caught in submissions.
Weidman’s wrestling definitely gives him a chance.”




Georges St-Pierre (two-time and reigning UFC welterweight
champion)



“I believe it’s a bad matchup for Anderson
Silva. Very bad, style wise. Anderson’s weaknesses are
Weidman’s strengths. I’ve trained with Weidman and his
wrestling is on another level. Not only is Chris Weidman going to
beat Anderson Silva, I believe he’s going to finish Anderson.
I believe it’s not going to last too long, this fight. This fight
will shock a lot of people. I’ve trained with Weidman and I
know how good he is. He will be the champion. Anderson is smart,
though, and is fighting Chris after a long layoff for injury.
That’s why it is important for Weidman to have a great camp.
But if Weidman gets though camp with no problems, he will win this
fight.”


Kenny Florian
(UFC
Tonight
host, three-time UFC title challenger)



“Weidman is going to be Anderson’s biggest
challenge. Weidman is a guy who can take you down, has a tremendous
ground and pound game and has excellent submissions as well. I
think his D’Arce choke can pose a lot of problems for Anderson
Silva when the fight hits the ground. The way Anderson tries to get
to his feet – and the way Weidman controls opponents on the
ground using their heads – will leave Anderson very
vulnerable to the D’Arce.

“If you look at what my UFC Tonight co-host Chael Sonnen
did to Silva – he won all five completed rounds over two
fights – and not just kinda slightly won. He dominated, and
Weidman is a bigger, stronger, younger and harder-hitting version
of Chael. I don’t think there is any fighter in the world who
can hope to beat Anderson on the feet, but I think Weidman can and
will get this to the ground and, once there, I expect him to be in
a huge position to win the fight.”


Michael Bisping (No. 4 ranked middleweight contender)


“With Weidman, I think he’s got a hell of a shot
at becoming the new champion. Anderson Silva is the greatest of all
time but, believe me; Weidman has a very bad style for him. A
nightmare style, really. Weidman will be able to take Anderson
down, and do serious damage when he does so. Weidman has a great
ground game, and that’s where Anderson has shown
vulnerabilities. Chael Sonnen took Anderson down at will and
Anderson hardly ever got himself up; he had to wait for the end of
the round. When I fought Chael I got up every time and punched him
in the face. Anderson is the best fighter of all time, but his
weakness is wrestling and Weidman is at least as good as Chael in
that area.

“Also, you have to factor in that Anderson has been doing
this for a very long time now. He’s put his body through a
lot in the gym over the years and we all get old eventually.
Beating guys like one-legged Canadians and broken down,
semi-retired light heavyweights is one thing, but if Weidman can
back his mouth up and really take the fight to Anderson I think he
can do this.”


Gray Maynard (two-time UFC lightweight title
challenger)



“If anyone is going to beat Anderson Silva, and stop
this guy retiring with the belt, undefeated in the UFC, for sure it
is Chris Weidman. Weidman is the only guy I can point to in the
division and go ‘This guy can do it, this guy can beat
Anderson’.”




Daniel Cormier (No. 2 ranked UFC heavyweight
contender)



“I am always partial to wrestlers, but I honestly
think Weidman has the tools to win this fight. Anderson is the
greatest of all-time, but Weidman has the blueprint set by Chael
Sonnen. It’s not like he has to spend a round or two figuring
out what he has to do to win. Just follow the game plan that Chael
had success with: take Anderson down and pound on him. I think
Anderson’s takedown defense has improved over the years, but
Chris is such a good wrestler he will get the job done. I pick
Weidman by decision.”


Frank Mir (two-time UFC heavyweight champion)


“Anderson has shown one weakness – he can be
controlled on the ground by powerful wrestlers – and Weidman
is the most powerful wrestler there is in the division. Everyone is
making the comparison to Chael Sonnen, but while Chael controlled
Anderson on the ground and landed shots, he couldn’t hurt
Anderson and that was his undoing. Weidman can hurt Anderson with
ground and pound and he can submit Anderson.

“The only way I see Weidman not winning is if he has a
macho thing where he has illusions of striking with the best
striker in the world. But I think he’s too smart for that.
I’m not just saying he’s got a great shot, I am picking
Weidman to win.”


Alan Belcher (UFC middleweight contender)


“Weidman has all tools; on paper he can do this.
Anderson always seems to find a way to win, but everyone is human,
and style wise, I don’t like this for Anderson.
Weidman’s really good on the top, and he could sub Anderson.
He’s that good on the ground. What worries me about Weidman
is he knows just enough to get himself into trouble on the feet. He
is just good enough to land a shot or two and think he can win
standing up. But he can’t. No one can beat Anderson standing.
Weidman has to get this to the ground, and when that happens it is
Chris Weidman’s fight, Chris Weidman’s world. If this
hit the floor in the first round, it is going to be insane because
Weidman could sub Anderson Silva in the very first
round.”


Roger Gracie (UFC 162 fighter, middleweight)


“Weidman’s grappling is at a very high level. He
has some very good submissions. He can put a lock on anyone – any
world class grappler. I think he’s that good that he can tap
anyone, including me or Anderson Silva.”


TJ Grant (No.3 contender, UFC lightweight title)


“Personally, I feel Weidman has the tools to win.
He’s young, confident and his grappling is on a completely
different level. You never want to pick against Anderson Silva, but
I give a slight edge to Weidman.”


Luke Rockhold (No.7 UFC middleweight contender)


“This is a 50/50 fight. I’ve not thought that
about an Anderson fight in a long time, but this can go either
way.”


John Moraga (No.4 flyweight contender)


“I’m going out of a limb and say Weidman is
taking him out. He is real determined and confident and
that’s the key to beating a legend. Weidman is going to let
it all go, and I think his style is all wrong for Anderson. I can
see Weidman dominating, actually.”


Rick Story (UFC welterweight contender)


“I can see Weidman grinding out a points win by
controlling most of the fight on the ground. Ask Chael Sonnen, five
rounds is a long time not to make a mistake in Anderson’s
guard, but Chris is so young and hungry I think he can do
it.”


Johny Hendricks (No.1 welterweight contender)


“Anderson doesn’t like to start fast but I think
in this fight he needs to get going early. Weidman is coming off a
long layoff and Anderson should take advantage, jump on him, and go
for the first round KO. But if Weidman gets to the later rounds,
his wrestling and being so young will take over. I think Weidman
has the style and the skills to win this fight and I pick him to
win a decision.”


Dominick Cruz (UFC bantamweight champion, FOX Sports
Analyst)



“Weidman can absolutely do it. But against Anderson
Silva the pressure is on not to make a mistake while he uses his
strikes to set up a takedown. That is the critical thing for
Weidman. I’ve spent some time with Chris, he’s a smart
dude, and he knows he’s not going to try to strike with
Anderson. And he has to be conscious of that fact: Striking wise,
Weidman cannot compete against Anderson on any level. At all. The
reason he was able to land that elbow against Mark Munoz was Munoz
was trying to set up for a takedown just as much as Weidman was
and, knowing that, Weidman was waiting for the overhand right and
that allowed him to land that elbow. He cannot land anything like
that against Anderson.

“Weidman has to have the exact same game plan as Chael
Sonnen; everyone is saying that is the blueprint for him to win
this fight. But here’s the problem: Anderson had two fights
with Chael and has had over 30 minutes of Octagon time with that
exact strategy. Anderson went through at least two camps expecting
that to be his opponent’s strategy. Anderson’s takedown
defense is light years away from where it was even two years ago.
Remember, takedown defense is only one aspect of one discipline in
MMA – and it is one of the easiest aspects to improve on.

“But Weidman can still get him down. Anderson takes
anything from a minute to half a round to figure out his
opponent’s distance and timing, and Chris has to make use of
that to score a takedown. Once he has Anderson down, he can strike
very well, and I expect him to pass and force Anderson into a
scramble. Anderson usually waits in his guard for a chance to
escape or counter, but Chris hits hard enough and is active enough
to force Anderson to try to get back up fast. That’s where I
see Weidman winning the fight, in the scramble as Anderson tries to
get back up.”


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