Middleweight title challenger Chris Weidman would fight Jon Jones – if the UFC asked him.
“I mean, I’ve got to beat Anderson (Silva) first,” the undefeated Weidman (9-0 MMA, 5-0 UFC) said during a media teleconference in support of his headliner against Silva (33-4 MMA, 16-0 UFC) at next week’s UFC 162 event. “That’s the first big step. Whatever the UFC fans and UFC want to do and the fight they want to see, I’m definitely willing to do.”
To be clear, nobody is yet asking Weidman to step up in weight to fight the light heavyweight champ Jones, which is what Silva is expected to do if he’s victorious on July 6 at Las Vegas’ MGM Grand Garden Arena. (Jones, too, has to make it past Alexander Gustafsson at UFC 165 in September.)
Weidman’s chances aren’t as bad as some who’ve faced the middleweight kingpin, as betting lines indicate. But a win over Silva certainly would be one of the most significant upsets in MMA history.
It would also spoil a superfight fans are clamoring for like no other matchup in the sport. Now that welterweight champ Georges St-Pierre has indicated he won’t be fighting Silva any time soon, Jones is the most-requested matchup outside “The Spider’s” weight class. A fight between the two would be hugely successful for the UFC.
Although unrealistic, putting Weidman in Silva’s place seems the logical thing to do. And the title challenger’s answer is what you’d expect for someone with nothing to lose and everything to gain in such a scenario.
But like everyone else, Weidman isn’t exactly asking for the chance. It’s been a year since he last fought, as he first saw his house inundated by Hurricane Sandy and then got injured in preparation for a title eliminator this past December. Next week is the biggest fight of his career, against the best fighter in the world. If anything, the New York native might be asking for the services of a mental coach to help him rise to the considerable challenge.
“I think if I let all that stuff get in my mind, it would definitely get to me,” he said. “But I think I’m really focused on this fight. I don’t need a mental coach. If I had a mental coach, it would be (striking coach) Ray Longo. I speak to him every day.
“As far as a psychologist, I’m good. I have a psychology degree, so that might help a little bit. I just know what type of mindset I need to have to walk in that cage, and I visualize the fight every day and all day long. The biggest thing is to stay confident and stay relaxed, and just make sure I dictate my fight when I get in there.
“I’m pretty good with having a strong mindset and not letting things get to me. I think I got a little ADD, so I can’t focus on too many things at the same time.”
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