On December 28, at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, NV. Chris Weidman will be staring across the octagon at Anderson Silva, a man he had defeated to obtain the Middleweight Championship and possibly the biggest upset ever in the sport of MMA. Silva, considered by many to be the greatest fighter of all time will be in unfamiliar territory, and for the first time in his UFC career he will announced “former UFC Middleweight Champion.”
Chris Weidman has more than just defending his newly earned UFC Championship on his mind, this time he’s out to prove that the last meeting wasn’t a fluke.
Ray Longo, Weidman’s long time trainer, is confident that Weidman will once again have his hand raised in victory. Longo appeared on Monday’s edition of the MMA Hour and had the following to say about the upcoming rematch between Weidman and Silva:
“We want to put a stamp on what Chris did the first time. Chris is focused, and training camp is going excellent. We’re ready to roll. He’s ready to show everybody that first time wasn’t a fluke.”
Some fans, including myself,believe that the taunting and clowning around that Silva often employs during his fights finally caught up to him, and he finally got what he deserved. With Silva’s age and amount of time spent in battle inside the octagon, maybe his extra edge of speed and agility have been affected Just enough for Weidman to put a left hook on Silva’s chin in their last fight, knocking out Silva and claiming his throne as the champion.
When asked if Silva would continue those antics at UFC 168, Longo said that Silva might not employ that strategy at the beginning of the fight, but would resort to them at some point in the match up:
“I think that’s just woven into the fabric of who Anderson Silva is. Watch his fights, I don’t think there was one fight where he didn’t try and mug the guy or goof around, and that’s just who he is. I think that would be the hardest thing for him to change.”
“The Octagon doesn’t lie. It’ll show you who you are, and I think that’s who he is, and I think that’ll be hard to change.”
When asked about changes that he and Weidman have made for the rematch with Silva, Longo said that they are pretty much keeping things the same as they were in the first fight. They brought in a southpaw boxer for sparring, but for the most part they kept things the same, including utilizing UFC fighter and former kickboxing champion Stephen Thompson to mimic Silva’s style.
One change this time around is that former UFC welterweight champion Matt Serra will be in Weidman’s corner. Serra was unable to join the team for UFC 162.
Along with Longo and Serra, the other cornerman that will return from the first fight is Weidman’s father, a man Longo feels will help Chris come fight night:
“That is the x-factor, 100 percent. He provides stability, and I think he really keeps Chris grounded. He’s very spiritual, and I think he’s a great relaxation for Chris.”
One of the more memorable moments that occurred in Weidman’s corner during his first fight with Silva came between Round 1 and 2. Weidman was sitting on his stool with Longo crouched in front of his fighter. Longo, pointing to Weidman said, “I want you to punch a whole in his f- – cking chest. That’s what I want.”
Longo discussed this moment on Monday:
“I wanted him to punch a whole in his chest, yes. The guy has great head movement, but the body doesn’t move. In between rounds it was part being emotional and trying to psyche him up, but we wanted to put a bull’s-eye on his chest so we could find the head a little easier. That wasn’t something that just came up at that point. That was what we talked about, but with a little extra emotion.”
Despite losing the title to Weidman, Longo still sees Silva as one of the best fighters in the game:
“I still think there’s 95 percent of the people that he can still beat up, but I just think he’s got the wrong guy in front of him.”
Longo sees the rematch ending the same way as their original match up, with the UFC middleweight belt staying with Weidman:
“He’s looking forward to this fight, and he’s going to get what he wants.”
(Quotes via MMA Hour)Tags: Anderson Silva, Chris Weidman, matt serra, Ray Longo, Stephen Thompson