If you ask Dana White, he'll tell you nearly every fighter under the sun is picking Chris Weidman to stun the world and upset Anderson Silva at UFC 162. While that's obviously a heaping slice of hyperbole, it's at least partially grounded in reality.
More so than any Silva fight in recent memory, pros have been coming out in droves over the past few months, throwing their support behind the 29-year-old from Long Island. Even championship caliber fighters, men like Georges St-Pierre and Frankie Edgar who understand what it takes to get it done on the biggest stage, have climbed aboard the Weidman bandwagon without hesitation. The list goes on, and so to add onto the fun, we've asked another slew of pros to weigh in on Saturday night's main event.
John Dodson: "Anderson Silva. I know that sounds cliché because everyone is on the Anderson Silva thing, but he's just too technical for the weight division. Nobody has actually figured out his puzzle; haven't found out his little keys to beat him. And Chris Weidman doesn't seem like he has that technical ability to go at it and dethrone the champion. I see Anderson Silva actually winning by TKO in the second round."
Jon Jones: "Anderson is a great champion so I can't put anything past him doing well. The same time, Chris Weidman is young, he's ambitious, and he has that wrestling base that I think is Anderson's kryptonite. So, let's see if Chris Weidman can string it all together."
Frank Mir: "I can't predict against Anderson Silva. The guy has done nothing but win and win convincingly. Well, he lost rounds against Chael. But I think Weidman is actually a very dangerous prospect for him. I think in every other fight, I would've easily bet on Anderson. And not that I'm betting on Chris, but it's pretty equal. Chris Weidman has a great work ethic, I think he's super tough. If I was Anderson's camp, I would be taking this fight extremely serious. I think this guy Chris Weidman is a very dangerous opponent. He has great takedowns, he has resilience, and his submission ability -- if Chael would've had even half of it, Anderson Silva would've suffered a defeat. I think if Chris gets in the same positions as Sonnen was in, I think he finishes him.
"Not that I predict Weidman. Weidman just has to get past the enigma of grabbing Anderson and putting him down. I still think that I'm always going to favor the champion, but I definitely don't think it's as clear cut. I think this is the hardest fight on paper we've seen Anderson fight in the UFC."
Donald Cerrone: "I'm going to go with the champ. I think he's got it, man."
Erik Perez: "Anderson Silva is phenomenal. I think Anderson Silva wins this fight. Every time I see Anderson Silva, he's, f--k, he's on another planet. He's phenomenal. He's a ninja."
Benson Henderson: "For me, I can't pick against Anderson Silva until I see somebody beat him. There's no way; I don't see anybody beating Silva. I don't know how. I don't know in which way, manner or form you would approach the enigma that is Anderson Silva.
"Weidman's pretty tough. I'm not sure if Silva will finish him or not, but I will say: Anderson Silva has a penchant for finishing tough opponents."
Bubba McDaniel: "I think Chris Weidman is the only guy that's left that can give Anderson Silva that look we need to see if somebody is able to take it to him. Chris Weidman is the next up and coming thing. I think he's great, and I think he [wins]. I'm hoping, honestly, just to throw a wrench in everything. Just to have them go, ‘Hey, there is a hole that exists.' Just to have it. Because right now, even in my mind, Anderson Silva is the modern day Bruce Lee, and that's the way it is. Do I think Chris Weidman is the guy that has the best shot to do it? Probably. So, if there's anybody to beat him, I think he's it. We'll see what happens. If it doesn't happen, then man, more power to Anderson Silva. But if Chris Weidman does it, I'm like, ‘Man, there's always a chance.'"
Rampage Jackson: "I don't even know who Chris Weidman is."
Gegard Mousasi: "It could be a more difficult fight for Anderson Silva, but I think experience is too much. The difference between nine fights and I think Anderson has more than 35, 40 fights, the difference is too much. I think the experience will make sure Anderson Silva will win. Anderson is a very confident fighter, so I think it will be Anderson. I will slightly give it to Anderson, but Chris Weidman will do very well. I think people underestimate him, but Silva will [finish] him."
Leonard Garcia: "Right now, man, Anderson is on a tear. He's going to continue his tear. I think Weidman's got a lot of hype, and I think he's coming in to prove something. But I think that's what's going to get him in trouble. Anderson is going to win. It's going to be one of his toughest [fights]. But every time I said it's going his toughest fight, he goes out there and knocks the guy out in like 30 seconds, so man, you've got to go with the champion on this one. I think Weidman will be champion one day, but not Fourth of July."
Roger Hollett: "It's hard to go against Anderson. You've got to pick Anderson. Weidman is definitely a tough opponent, sick wrestling. But Anderson's striking is just, it's on that other level."
Mark Munoz (The MMA Hour): "Chris possesses all the tools to be able to give Anderson Silva problems. Yes, he does. But I truly believe that Anderson is ... you know I've trained with Anderson, I know what he's capable of. When he moves the way he's going to move in this fight, you'll see that he's definitely the world's best."
"He's a freakin' juggernaut. I was up in New York doing some photo shoot and I went to their gym. This was a few years before, I think he had one or two UFC fights. I was rolling around with him and I was like, ‘God, this guy's good.' Two hours later, we didn't ever really settle into a position. Nobody got mount, nobody got rear mount, nobody got side control. It was just scrambling for two hours. I was like, ‘Holy crap. This guy is legit.' Then seeing his stand up, he's a fantastic boxer. Anyways, just thing after thing. This is two years ago. I was impressed and I knew that he was going to make waves in the division, and he has. So a healthy Weidman is a scary thing."
Patrick Cote (The MMA Hour): "I'll go with Anderson Silva. This guy is just one of a kind. He's amazing. I don't think Weidman will have the stand up skills to be able to get close and wrestle him, and put him on his back or go for submissions. If he's able to do it, I think Silva will be in trouble, but he's got to be close. He's got to be able to close the distance, and I don't think it's going to happen."
Frank Shamrock: "Well I have to say Anderson Silva, man. I've never even heard of Chris Weidman, and I've seen Silva fight since he was 19.
"I remember when he was mostly Muay Thai, his ground was terrible and his wrestling was, you know, not phenomenal. He was just a young athlete, like I was when I had terrible striking and terrible wrestling and okay submission skills. But he stayed focused and slowly built his skillset up in all the ways in the sport's popularity, of where wrestling was popular and singular arts and athletes were able to progress. He was able to continue developing his mixed martial arts style until his style and his body were just light years ahead of everyone else, which is awesome to watch."
Kamal Shalorus: "You're talking about Anderson Silva. He's a beast, man. That guy is something different. Oh my God, I know he's not human. He's amazing. I don't who's going to beat him. I believe Jon Jones can beat him, but I don't think [Chris Weidman] can. Anderson has so much experience."
Phil Baroni: "Weidman is a Long Island guy. I'm a Long Island guy. He's wrestled at Hofstra. I wrestled at Hofstra for a year. I have a billion reasons to root for the guy.
"But then, you know, how can you root against Anderson Silva, with all that he's done? This boy, he's just like a living legend. He's the last one. He's like Fedor. And he's older. All of sudden I root for all of the old guys. I can't believe it -- whoever's older, I'm always rooting for him. So it's a tough call. I'm older and I don't want to see the young kid beat the old legend. I don't want to see Anderson Silva go out like that. He's the best. He's the GOAT, and I wouldn't want to see him go out like that. So it's a hard call. I'd like to see Weidman win, but I how can you pick against Anderson? I think to a lot of old fighters, he's like a hero. I just can't pick against him."