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Wednesday, 08/15/2012, 10:32 am

BJPenn.Com Exclusive: Chris Weidman Believes He Has What it Takes to Finish Anderson Silva

UFC Middleweight Chris Weidman has been a busy man these days. Coming off a dominating win over fellow top contender Mark Munoz, Weidman is gunning for a shot at UFC Middleweight Champion Anderson Silva. The Silva camp seems to think that Weidman isn’t a big enough name yet, but fortunately for the Baldwin, NY native, the UFC is behind him and they are doing all they can to help build him into their next big star.

“The UFC has me doing more press than ever,” Weidman told BJPenn.Com. “I was on CNN, ESPN and Fox the week after the fight with Munoz. I’ve been training more than I thought I would be, sometimes twice a day. I want to try and stay in shape because you never know what may come up. I did a Q & A this past weekend in Denver, it was a lot of fun and I certainly had a good time. I was relaxed and didn’t get too nervous, it was a cool experience getting to talk with the fans.”

Going back to the win over Munoz, his dominating performance was a little overshadowed by referee Josh Rosenthal’s poor judgment and late stoppage which caused Munoz to take a lot of unnecessary punishment.

“I didn’t realize how bad the stoppage was while we were still fighting,” admitted Weidman. “After watching it on the replays I knew it was bad. I felt bad; I definitely hit him way too many times and really hard. I know I have to do what I have to do, but it was still rough watching it. I guess the ref didn’t see the elbow connect and may have thought Mark slipped so he gave him the benefit of the doubt. I think it should’ve been stopped after I hit him with the elbow.”

Weidman is certainly enjoying the added exposure along with all of the added responsibilities the UFC has heaped upon him. He knew when he got into the sport that once he started making a name for himself he would be thrust into the spotlight.

“I like it, I came into the sport to be the best and that’s one of the things that comes along with being successful,” offered the Long Island native. “The higher up in the division you go more people are going to begin noticing you and they will give you more credit for your work. I like getting credit for working hard so I don’t mind the added exposure. It’s really cool to do an interview with Newsday (Long Island Paper) and News 12 (Long Island New Network) and get the support of your home town.”

UFC 148 was billed as the biggest rematch in UFC history and while Weidman was busy concentrating and training for his fight with Munoz just a few days after the historic event that didn’t stop him from being an interested observer.

“I thought it was exciting especially when Sonnen took him down in the first round,” Weidman said. “I just think he may have used too much energy in the first round. Maybe he wasn’t breathing enough and not taking his time. I think he gassed out by putting too much pressure on himself. Maybe he could’ve reserved some of his energy by pacing himself a little better.”

Despite the outcome of Sonnen’s second failed attempt at capturing the UFC Middleweight title many people believe he wrote the blueprint on how to defeat “The Spider”, Weidman is one of those believers, but also knows he has a better skill set to finish off the long time champion.

“Without a doubt, I think most of the people who have faced Silva would want to get the takedown,” assessed Weidman. “It’s something I would want to do, but I would change some things up when I got on top of him. I would try and hit him with some submissions; if I was able to achieve the mount I have full confidence that I could finish him. I’m longer, taller and younger than Sonnen and I don’t think Silva has ever seen a guy like me.”

Silva has come out and told the UFC he doesn’t plan on fighting again in 2012. Weidman doesn’t understand the reasoning behind that considering Ed Soares told the media that Silva sustained no injuries in the fight with Sonnen. He also understands it‘s out of his control and will keep doing what go him this far in the first place.

“I’m not exactly sure what I want to do if he does sit out the rest of the year,” Weidman stated. “I want to talk to the UFC myself and see what’s really going on and what they want me to do. It’s all crazy because after the fight with Sonnen, Silva’s manager said he wasn’t injured and wanted to fight right away. After I beat Munoz and called Silva out, now all of the sudden he doesn’t want to fight until next year. It’s frustrating, but either way I am going to keep working hard, hope for the best and do what the UFC tells me to do.”

There are two big middleweight bouts on the horizon. Brian Stann will face Michael Bisping at UFC 152 in September and Vitor Belfort will take on Alan Belcher at UFC 153 in October. Both bouts could produce another contender to Silva’s throne. Weidman gave his opinion on how he sees these fights going down.

“Guys like Bisping, Stann, Belcher and Belfort are all guys who are up there in the rankings,’ said Weidman. “I think in the Belcher-Belfort fight Belcher has the advantage, but he has to be prepared for a tough first round because Belfort is so explosive and dangerous. As long as he can get out of the first round I think Belcher will beat him. With Stann-Bisping, I can see Stann knocking him out or Bisping winning a decision by using his takedowns and staying away with his jabs and crosses. It could go either way.”

Speaking of Bisping, the English born fighter believes he will get the next crack at the title should he defeat Stann in impressive fashion. That is not something Weidman agrees with at all.

“I don’t agree he should get the next title shot if he beats Stann,” said the 28-year old Weidman. “I don’t think winning one fight after a loss should be enough to get him a shot. He’s trying to talk himself into a title shot which I understand, it’s a smart thing for him to do, but I don’t think he deserves it. Especially considering Stann got dominated by Sonnen who then got beat by Silva. Then they are going to put Bisping in there like he’s a world beater? I don’t get it, but maybe that’s just me.”

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