What a bizarre series of months it's been for the top of the UFC's middleweight division. Highly hyped Hector Lombard came in and lost his debut. Contenders Tim Boetsch, Alan Belcher and Michael Bisping all suffered losses. Surging Chris Weidman injured his shoulder and required surgery. And Vitor Belfort, after a spectacular win, instead of calling out the divisional champ, instead looked right past him to a weight class he doesn't compete in. Meanwhile, Anderson Silva doesn't seem to be interested in anybody.
Yes, the division is in disarray, but Weidman, still rehabilitating his repaired right shoulder, says he's the man to bring some stability, as well as a challenge for Silva.
In recent months, the quiet New Yorker has lobbied for a chance to fight for the belt, and on Monday's edition of The MMA Hour, he reiterated his desire to do that, saying his projected date of a June return coincides perfectly with Silva's stated desire of fighting in the summer.
Now he's just got to convince the UFC brass and Silva it's the right call. But, he says, he's not willing to take the route of badgering the champ until he gives in. Instead, he says he wants to follow in the footsteps of other UFC champions who have earned it with their resumes.
"I’m not going to start saying Anderson Silva is a chicken and scared of me," he said. "I do think I am a bad matchup for him. I think I really have him beat in a lot of areas. I don't think he's faced anybody like me. I also can understand from his view point why he doesn't want to fight me, for a couple reasons."
Weidman says Silva likely believes it's a high-risk fight for him. As many have pointed out, it's wrestling that has given Silva the most problems over the years, and Weidman has a pedigree in the combat sport as a two-time Division I collegiate All-American. While some collegiate stars have had trouble adapting their wrestling skills to the MMA arena, the undefeated Weidman (9-0) has been a quick study; according to FightMetric, he has landed 72 percent of his takedown attempts and has never been taken down.
Weidman is planning to travel to Chicago this week to be in attendance for the UFC on FOX event, and hopes to talk to the UFC brass about his return.
While he's not opposed to fighting another contender, like Strikeforce champion Luke Rockhold or Belfort if that's what the UFC decides upon, Weidman hasn't yet given up on the possibility that he'll be called upon for Silva, especially after Bisping lost last Saturday night.
"Right now I think I’m the most deserving to get it if they want to make the [Silva] fight right away," he said. "I just don't know if Anderson Silva will be interested."
Weidman said he wasn't rooting against Bisping last weekend and that never roots against anyone, afraid of any bad karma that might come his way as a result. In fact, he expected Bisping to win the fight and go on to a title match against Silva.
If Weidman does get the Silva fight in the summer, it will come after about a year on the sidelines. He says he'd take it anyway, because he doesn't exactly view his time out of the cage as being sidelined. Despite being injured, he's regularly in the gym, and has spent a lot of time improving his kicks and working on his left hook, tools that will only increase his firepower upon his return.
And whoever it is, whether it's Silva or another contender like himself eager to get to a title shot, Weidman is just ready to keep on climbing.
"Whoever UFC decides, I’m good," he said. "I just cant wait to get back in the octagon and just keep proving myself. There are still a million doubters out there and I love proving them wrong. All the people who think I’m going to get killed by Anderson Silva, eventually I want to prove those guys wrong."