On behalf of the UFC, Chris Weidman traveled to the New York state capitol on Wednesday to lobby for mixed martial arts in the Empire state. Perhaps they sent him there after experiencing his efforts first-hand, as it appears that his own previous, personal lobbying for a middleweight title match with Anderson Silva has finally paid off.
According to New York Newsday, Weidman was told by UFC chairman and CEO Lorenzo Fertitta that his request to challenge Silva has finally been accepted, in a fight that will be targeted for UFC 162 on Fourth of July weekend. The event, which will take place on July 6, is to be held in Las Vegas, though the host venue is to be decided.
"Dream come true," Weidman told the paper. "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."
The 28-year-old Weidman is a perfect 9-0 in his career, but at the time of his fight with Silva, will not have fought for a year. His last bout was in July 2012, when he knocked out Mark Munoz with a standing elbow strike and some ground punches.
Since then, he's been hounding Silva and the UFC for a title fight, but for a time, it seemed as though he wouldn't receive it. Late last year, he was linked to a UFC 155 matchup against Tim Boetsch, but eventually withdrew from the bout with a shoulder injury that required surgery. He told Newsday that he was 100 percent and had been cleared to resume training.
He will likely be considered an underdog in the fight as he attempts to become the man to end Silva's lengthy reign at the top of the middleweight division. Silva has never lost in 16 trips to the octagon, and has held the belt since defeating Rich Franklin in October 2006. Due to Weidman's pedigree as a Division I wrestler, along with powerful strikes and a durable chin, many feel that he has the qualities to challenge Silva in a way that no one but Chael Sonnen has been able to do during his dominant UFC run.