MMAFighting's Dave Meltzer details why many fans are not yet convinced that Chris Weidman presents a serious threat to UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva.
Meltzer explains that unlike Chuck Liddell or GSP, Silva is a situational draw - fans will not necessarily buy tickets or a PPV on his name alone. But if you have the right situation, say vs. Chael Sonnen at UFC 148, you can get the largest UFC live gate in ever in Vegas, and the year's best PPV sales, with an estimated 925,000 buys.
A large number of fighters have come out and said that UFC 162 is indeed a compelling situation - Saturday night could see Silva's extraordinary streak come to an end:
•16-fight winning streak (five more than second place GSP).
•Ten consecutive title defenses (two more than GSP).
•81 consecutive months as champion (18 months ahead of GSP).
In short, if Weidman wins, it will be one of the most historic fights in UFC history.
Many fans don't quite see it that way, and one cause is the small amount of time that the average fan has actually seen Weidman fight.
Weidman was just a guy on the card in his first three UFC fights. His debut against Alessio Sakara on March 3, 2011, was a decision win against a non-contender on a relatively low rated show that aired on Versus. His win over Jesse Bongfeldt was a Spike TV preliminary match before a pay-per-view. Win No. 3 over Tom Lawlor came on a Facebook fight with very minimal viewership.
The only Weidman fight before a big audience would be the fight most know him by. On Jan. 28, 2012, Weidman took a fight at the last minute, had to drop 32 pounds and didn’t have a fight camp, while facing Demian Maia. Weidman was very tired by the second round, but he still clearly won. But people who saw that fight were not thinking that they can’t wait to see him battle Anderson Silva.
On the other hand, his most recent fight led to a lot of people thinking the opposite. Weidman, in a main event against Mark Munoz, totally dominated a former NCAA champion in every aspect of the game, before knocking him out with a brutal standing elbow.
The problem was, that fight was on Fuel on a Wednesday, and almost nobody saw it. Since that time, a year ago, largely due to shoulder surgery for a training issue, he hasn’t fought since.
That’s part of the reason for the divergent views. A lot of fighters saw that fight. The idea he could take down Munoz, a far better wrestler than Silva, at will, is a key argument for those who believe he can win. But the vast majority of UFC fans didn’t see it. To them, he’s still the guy who got really tired in round two against Maia and struggled,. And now, he’s facing the greatest of all-time. And if that’s your frame of reference, it would be virtually impossible to convince you he’s got any shot.
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What do you think? Are fans just unexposed to Weidman? Will the undefeated American shock the world Saturday night? Or is Anderson Silva again on another level?
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