Anyone with an internet connection and a passing interest in the UFC knows that the hype surrounding middleweight #1 contender Chris Weidman is reaching a fever pitch. Ever since it was announced that Weidman would be challenging long-reigning champion Anderson Silva for the UFC middleweight crown at UFC 162, a steady flow of news stories and sound bites have been rolling in each week, filling our ears with high praise and admiration for the New York native.
This is standard operating procedure for fight promotion, especially considering just how dominant Silva has been in the UFC Octagon; after all, when a fighter manages to rack up a whopping 10 title defenses, it takes a little something extra to get fans to believe the 11th guy has a shot. But some of the press Weidman has received comes dangerously close to crossing the threshold of believability. For example, UFC President Dana White went on record saying that every professional fighter he’s talked to thinks Weidman is going to win. UFC fighter and super-elite grappler Roger Gracie says Weidman can submit anybody in the world on the ground, even Gracie himself. And in perhaps the most outlandish claim of them all, UFC welterweight champion Georges St. Pierre says he positively knows that Weidman will be the one to dethrone Silva.
Look, I have no doubt Weidman is one of the top middleweights in the UFC. In his last two fights, he won a unanimous decision over Demian Maia on short notice and put away Mark Munoz with a highlight reel knockout finish. But let’s give ourselves a quick reality check and realize that he’s fighting Anderson Silva! You know, the most devastating UFC fighter of all-time? The guy who’s been a UFC champion longer than Weidman has been a professional mixed martial artist?
As a fan, I invite you to take a deep breath and realize that the parties who are speaking out so boldly in favor of Weidman have a vested interest in his success. If Nick Diaz was here right now, instead of out starting up the next great MMA promotion, he might say that we are all being sold “wolf tickets”, just like back at UFC 158. Weidman may very well end up being the next UFC middleweight champion, but wouldn’t the fight be more enjoyable if we didn’t have to endure all of this silliness beforehand?