UFC middleweight champ Chris Weidman has heard the theory that Anderson Silva is coming back with a vengeance for their rematch.
That is, no more clowning, no more showboating and no more lowered hands for the deposed champ. All the extraneous parts of Silva’s muay Thai-based fighting style will be jettisoned for the most effective techniques in his arsenal.
Weidman is not on board with this theory, as he today told MMAjunkie.com Radio (www.mmajunkie.com/radio). He believes all those things that excite and confound Silva’s fans are part of who he is as a fighter, and they’re not just going to go away in the five months between the first bout, which ended in the Brazilian lying unconscious on the mat this in July at UFC 162, and the second at UFC 168 on Dec. 28 at MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.
“He wouldn’t be so good just putting his hands up and looking like a typical Thai boxer,” Weidman said. “You know what the guy is going to do more if he’s doing that. He likes to come from different angles from his hands down. Trust me, he’s not coming in like you think he’s going to be coming in.”
If he does, however, the undefeated Weidman (10-0 MMA, 6-0 UFC) is more than happy to meet him on that playing ground. It’s one where he’s already been successful. His knockout of Silva (33-5 MMA, 16-1 UFC) produced scores of naysayers, despite the result, but it also put a belt that hadn’t changed hands for seven years around his waist.
“People say that he’s going to get pissed off, and it’s going to be this whole new Anderson Silva – it’s going to be easier,” Weidman said. “I’m very happy with the situation, and it’s exactly where I thought I was going to be, and it’s time to prove myself again on (Dec.) 28, so I’m excited.”
From where money is being plunked down online, he’s still considered to be a risky bet. Weidman might not by the longshot he was a little more than a month ago, when he was nearly a 2-to-1 underdog, yet he’s still not favored heading into the second bout.
Weidman thinks that will change, however.
“That’s why it makes for a perfect rematch, because so many people just can’t believe [Silva] really lost, and he was trying,” he said. “They figure that’s how he fights in every one of his fights, and it works in every one. I was just able to capitalize on it. People just can’t believe – that he could lose two fights in a row.”
But according to Weidman, there are a lot of people who might want that. He said following his upset victory, he was deluged with support from fans – many of them Brazilian – who were tired of watching “The Spider” dance around his opponents.
“I think people like to see underdog win, and catch him,” Weidman said. “I feel like that point, when he’s clowning like that, there’s thousands of people wanting to punch him themselves. So for me to knock him out when he was clowning, I think it made a lot of people happy.”
Weidman said he’ll be even more ready this time around if Silva does as he’s done for so many opponents, feinting, waving his hands, and trying to get into his opponent’s head.
“You’ve got to remember, I was coming off a year layoff and surgeries; I had elbow surgery and shoulder surgery – a serious shoulder surgery,” he said. “So there was a lot of time off for a year, and I went in there and ended up beating him. This next fight, I’ve been training nonstop. I’ve been getting better every day, and I’m still growing a lot.”
One strategy, however, remains the same. Weidman’s coach, Ray Longo, famously screamed at him between rounds to punch a hole through Silva’s chest. That somewhat bizarre request still is relevant.
“He was saying that when we were hitting mitts (before the fight),” Weidman said. “We were going over it – his hands are down, he’s clowning, what do you do? The whole thing with that is you punch a hole through his chest, and then you come up to the head. So when he’s leaning back and doing that, you go right to the body – he’s not going to be able to move his chest – and then you’re able to calculate your head shot. That’s pretty much what I was able to do.”
Fans will see whether Silva is able to adjust when he attempts to retake his belt in December. Weidman said it’s a task that’s not just needed for the rematch.
“I made him beatable,” he said. “Now other people recognize it. It makes it a little easier for me knowing that he’s going to put his hands down and he can do all that stuff, but I know if I connect on him, I’m going to knock him out. So I think that’s a big plus. So I just have a lot of options in this next fight. I’m even more comfortable on my feet with him in this next fight, which is going to open up my takedowns and submissions even more. So I’m really confident going into this next fight.”
For the latest on UFC 168, stay tuned to the UFC Rumors section of the site.
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