At long last the accusations of ducking can subside. Chris Weidman has been throwing about such claims for months against UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva, despite not really having an overwhelming resume to demand the shot in the first place. All that does not matter now, as after months of talk centering around a Silva superfight with either Georges St. Pierre or Jon Jones, Weidman will get his chance to dethrone the man who has terrorized the UFC middleweight division for years.
Michael Bisping was thought to be the next man in line for Silva, but following a disappointing loss to Vitor Belfort, Chris Weidman and his supporters asserted their claim to be the most deserving of the next opportunity.
Apparently all the lobbying has paid off. UFC CEO Lorenzo Fertitta reportedly told Chris Weidman on Wednesday that Anderson Silva had agreed to face his challenge at the upcoming UFC 162, which takes place in July. The two spoke while in Albany to lobby for the sanctioning of MMA in New York.
“Dream come true,” Weidman told Newsday. “Ever since I’ve been fighting, Anderson Silva has been the champion and I’ve been visualizing beating him. Now I have the opportunity. I have to make the most of it.”
Chris Weidman has yet to lose as a professional, sporting a perfect 9-0 record, including 5-0 inside the UFC. His two most impressive victories came over Demian Maia by decision and Mark Munoz by knockout. Both are nice wins, but hardly the stuff that would validate the claims of his being ducked.
The middleweight division in the UFC does have a lack of top tier challengers, however, and Weidman has been considered the number one contender by most since last summer. Michael Bisping’s loss erased much of the doubt that may have remained.
In Anderson Silva, Weidman will face probably the most dominant champion in the history of the organization. At 33-4, he has won 16 straight fights in the Octagon, beginning with a crushing performance over Chris Leben at UFC Fight Night 5. He has held the belt since 2006, with just two of his opponents making the final bell.
Despite his dominance, Silva has often received criticism for his careful choosing of opponents, and seeming unwillingness to take risks. For example, it has been reported that he was eager to face the much smaller Georges St. Pierre in a proposed superfight, but reluctant to take on light heavyweight champ Jon Jones, in a fight that was pushed for by Dana White.
Although it may not have been because he was ducking Chris Weidman, originally, Silva did not want this fight. However, with no other big fights to be made, and with Bisping out of the picture, the options for him were limited.