Photo of Chris Weidman working his submissions by Lauron Zaugg for MMA Weekly.
Former UFC middleweight number one contender Demian Maia is a five-time world jiu-jitsu champion with four UFC "Submission of the Night" bonuses. He's widely-recognized as one of the most gifted grapplers in his division, if not the entire promotion.
So why is Chris Weidman looking to take their fight to the ground?
Probably because he's a wrestler. Not just any wrestler either, but a NCAA Division 1 All-American out of Hofstra University, undefeated in seven professional fights and 3-0 inside the Octagon.
In other words, he's good.
It should come as no surprise then, to hear the Ring of Combat veteran was first choice to replace Michael Bisping at the UFC on FOX 2 event this Saturday night (Jan. 28, 2012) at the United Center in Chicago, Illinois. "The Count" left Maia without a date to the big dance when Mark Munoz needed a substitute against Chael Sonnen.
It was "good stuff," as Weidman explains to USA Today, and an opportunity he wasn't going to let "someone else jump in there and take."
Have a look.
"I'm a wrestler. I'm always going to start the fight obviously standing, (but) if the takedowns are there, I'm going to get my takedown. I'm always going to be looking to pass and I'm always going to be looking for submissions no matter who I'm fighting. Some people never have opportunities like this given to them. I wasn't going to let someone else jump in there and take that opportunity, so it's good stuff."
If Weidman can win, and win convincingly, it might catapult him to the top of the 185-pound food chain, and perhaps one fight away from challenging for the strap.
Perhaps a victory in the "Windy City" will put him in line to welcome "The Filipino Wrecking Machine" back to the cage later this year?
The re-worked UFC on FOX 2 event, which will mark the promotion's second appearance on network television, will be headlined by a light heavyweight number one contender bout, as Rashad Evans and Phil Davis return from injuries to battle for the right to fight division champion Jon Jones.
Let's also not forget the aforementioned middleweight title eliminator that pits former championship challenger Sonnen against Bisping, the winner of which will battle 185-pound kingpin Anderson Silva later this year.
And it all plays out on free TV.
For the latest UFC on FOX 2 news and notes check out our comprehensive event archive right here.