Former Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) middleweight champion Chris Weidman knows a thing or two about defeating long, lanky strikers. That’s why the “All American” is confident he could not only beat, but dominate reigning 185-pound kingpin Israel Adesanya.
“I think that’s a tailor-made matchup for me. Those athletic strikers, tall lanky guys, I’ve proven that I can beat,” Weidman told Chael Sonnen (transcribed by Cole Shelton). “He hasn’t really fought any other great, accoladed wrestler, other than Yoel Romero who doesn’t use his wrestling. So, I don’t even count that. I’m the type of guy that will bring that pressure, and I will take him down and I’ll rag doll him on the floor. It is the same thing when I fought Anderson Silva.”
That might sound like crazy talk when you consider that Weidman, now 36, has been knocked out in his last five losses. Then again, this is the same “All American” who remains convinced he can handily defeat former light heavyweight champion Jon Jones.
“I think that’s an exciting fight to make,” Weidman said about Adesanya. “If you look up and down the rankings, I don’t think there’s too many other fights that are going to excite people the way our narratives could work, and what I bring to the table. It’s not any bullshit, it’s just facts. If you’re into MMA and you really understand the game, you look at my game and you know I present some serious trouble for Adesanya, and more than anybody’s ever had in the past.”
Weidman (15-5) got back into the win column with a unanimous decision win over Omari Akhmedov — a former welterweight — last August. The “All American” has a tall mountain to climb if he hopes to work his way back to a middleweight title shot.
In addition, Adesanya is using his UFC 253 finish over Paulo Costa to resurrect talk about super fights against the likes of Jon Jones and Stipe Miocic, which are certainly going to sell more pay-per-view (PPV) buys than a showdown against Weidman.