Steven Seagal was a recent guest on ‘The MMA Hour’ with Ariel Helwani and spoke at length about this weekend’s UFC 162 main event between longtime middleweight champion Anderson Silva (33-4 MMA, 16-0 UFC) and undefeated challenger Chris Weidman (9-0 MMA, 5-0 UFC):
Seagal: Where I come from we always say talk is cheap and the proof is in how it goes in the fight. If you all want my opinion, and I assume the reason why you called is because you want my opinion. My opinion is this young gentlemen, from what I’ve heard is a real nice young man. I can see he’s very good on the ground. He’s got grappling skills, great take downs, great guillotine, great arm triangle stuff like that, very good. That’s kind of what I can say about him. I think he’s very strong and good at all that stuff.
I think that he’s an offensive fighter and I think that Anderson is a better defensive fighter, which automatically puts him at a little bit of a disadvantage in some ways. I think Andersoon won’t go on his knees so a lot of that stuff won’t be easy for him to get. And he’s very dangerous on his back, which I don’t think many people realize. People think ‘Yeah I got on top of Anderson’ and look what happens when they do.
All that said, I believe Anderson is a little bit faster, he has a lot more experience, I believe he has a lot better timing, I think that he’s a better striker, and I think he’s a better kicker. He has better kicks and better strikes.
So people can say what they want to say and in this world anything can happen, but I kind of feel on paper that Anderson has the advantage and in the real world he has the advantage.
Ariel Helwani: Do you feel as though this will be Anderson’s toughest test in the UFC?
Seagal: Oh I don’t know. He’s hard some pretty damn tough tests. He’s got five rounds to knock him out and that’s why I’m hoping for is a knockout. I hope Anderson will knock him out and that’s not offense to this young gentlemen. That’s my guy and that’s what I’m hoping for. Anderson has some tough times, like with Chael Sonnen and he was injured badly. That was a real tough time. I don’t think it gets too much tougher than that. So no, I don’t think Weidman will be tougher. He’s a great fighter, very strong, great ground game, wonderful fighter, wonderful young man.
Ariel Helwani: Some people have called Chris Weidman the great white hope, great white hype if you will, have tried to will him to beat him, do you view it that way?
Seagal: To be honest with you, forgive me for saying this, but spending so much time in Detroit and Louisiana, we don’t look at color, great white, great black, why do we have to talk about color? He’s just a great young man, a great fighter with great potential, and we don’t need to be hoping or praying for anything, let’s hope the best man wins, that’s the way I look at it.
Ariel Helwani: Do you feel as though Anderson is being disrespected? As someone who knows him, his body of work, does it bother you to see people pick against him so easily?
Seagal: I mean we are living in a very very strange pond to swim. It’s a very strange pond to swim in. There’s a lot of people who have no experience in the martial arts who are talking as if they’ve been doing it for fifty years and talking as if they are masters. There are a lot of people who make up shit and lie through their teeth. There’s a lot of people who have huge egos and huge mouths who love to talk and say a lot of stuff. Then there are people who are highly accredited people who have been in the martial arts a long long time who certainly we want to hear from. They cast their opinions with respect, which I always try to do, and everybody wants to hear what they have to say. We’re swimming in a pond with the good, the bad, and the ugly. What I try to do is tune into the good and stay around the good, and more and more as time goes on I hope the UFC gets more people that are polite and qualified to give their opinions.
UFC 162 takes place this Saturday night live from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. The main card will air live on PPV, following the prelims on FX and Facebook.