Team Serra/Longo coach Ray Longo appeared recently on Ariel Helwani's The MMA Hour, and talked about Saturday's fight between Chris Weidman and UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva.
"This one feels different," said Longo. "The nervous energy is there. It's another championship fight, but I think you were saying before with Matt [Serra vs. Georges St-Pierre at UFC 69 in 2007], no one gave him a chance. Walking in there, he was the biggest underdog in UFC history. This kid, a lot of fighters are saying he's going to win and they see something in him that I guess a lot of people are missing.
"Even when he fought Sakara, it was on two-weeks' notice and he had a banged up rib and you are going to be in the UFC. He passed that test pretty good, so it's not like he's unaware of fighting in the UFC or being in the big show for the first time. He's kinda gotten a glimpse of it, so I think if he stays in the moment and understands what's going on he'll have no problem with that at all."
"We're going to stay in the moment... That's all it is. He's there to fight. He's there to win and that's it. He's not there to get in a spitting contest with this guy or do any other things that are stupid. He wants to go in there and fight the best guy in the world, which is what he's doing. I think he's really excited to test himself."
"Can a 40-year old man stop this young, talented, strong, huge, technical, confident kid from dumping him on his head? That's the way I look at it. This guy is a beast. I think the age might play a little factor in this. I'm not sure there's a guy in the United States that could stop [Weidman] from putting him on his head at that age.
"He's that good, Ariel. He really is. It's not just bulls---. He's technical, strong, he's confident. He's got the attributes that it takes to win this fight and I think everyone knows if that fight hits the ground, it's going to be a different story."
"We've put him in there with pro boxers, southpaw, 6'1". He's passed the test, so he deserves to be here. Everybody's going to find out something on July 6th. I don't know who is going to be more surprised in the Octagon: Anderson Silva or Chris, but he's not going to be mentally defeated before he goes in there. He's got the flight time now to get what he wants.
"This guy is no joke. I just believe the guys hes been beating aren't on Chris' level, standing up or on the floor."
"I think from the first day I met him I knew there was something different about him. "I'd never seen anybody do the things he did and I think it's all going to come to fruition on July 6th."