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Trainer Ray Longo: Chris Weidman is 'going to end up crushing' Lyoto Machida

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Esther Lin

Over the years, so many fighters, trainers, and coaches have predicted knockouts in upcoming fights that such proclamations tend to go in one ear and out the other.

When Ray Longo says someone will end up looking up at the lights, though, you listen.

The New York-based trainer called the shot before his fighter, Chris Weidman, knocked out Anderson Silva to claim the UFC middleweight title last year. And he prepared Matt Serra for what many still regard as the biggest upset in UFC history, Matt Serra's TKO victory over Georges St-Pierre to claim the welterweight belt at UFC 67.

Still, though, even given his track record, Longo's latest claim is a bold one: On Monday's edition of The MMA Hour, he said Weidman will crush his next opponent, former UFC light heavyweight champion Lyoto Machida, in the main event of their UFC 175 bout on July 5 in Las Vegas.

"I think Weidman is going to do what he always does," Longo said. "He's going to get in that ring, he's going to go forward, and he's going to impose his will on Machida and he's going to make Machida fight his game, and he's probably just going to end up crushing the guy. ... There's a good chance he just dumps him on his head and does what he wants with him."

While semantic nitpickers will no doubt note Longo isn't specifically using the word "knockout," saying a fighter will get crushed is nonetheless as strong as statements get. In an 11-year MMA career, Machida has only been finished twice, both by fellow members of the UFC light heavyweight title fraternity: Mauricio "Shogun" Rua (KO) and Jon Jones (standing guillotine).

But that's not enough to dissuade Longo from his beliefs.

"I think he's got a real weak chin, I think that's his biggest hole," Longo said of Machida. "Weidman hits his guy, he'll hurt him bad. [Machida] likes to control the pace of the fight, I don't think he likes to be pushed."

Weidman was initially prepared to face Vitor Belfort this time around. That was before the three-ring Nevada circus which ensnared Belfort, Wanderlei Silva, and Chael Sonnen unfolded, and Machida was put in the challengers spot.

Longo looks at the events which have panned out -- with the fighters getting nabbed by the state of Nevada in the wake of the state's ban on testosterone replacement therapy -- and sees poetic justice, though he's not going to gloat about it.

"I'm not really smiling about it, it is what it is," Longo said. "I think anybody who knows anything knows the guys who are doing stuff  ... Maybe it's poetic justice, but I'm not the type of guy who's going to sit there and laugh about it. What's right is right, I don't want Chris Weidman fighting a guy who has an unfair advantage by the rules. Play by the rules or don't play by the rules."

And that's all Longo has to say about that, because after all, Team Weidman had their own issues to worry about in the lead up to the fight. Weidman vs. Belfort was originally scheduled for Memorial Day weekend, but had to be put off until Fourth of July weekend because Weidman had to get his knees scoped.

Longo also isn't afraid to admit that there was some dicey moments on the comeback trail.

"He got off to a little bit of a rocky start," Longo said. "But he really turned the corner about a month ago, a few weeks ago, we had [Stephen] Wonderboy Thompson in for the past few weeks of the camp and he's looking great. He's going to do it, it sounds worse than it was and if anyone can do it, Weidman is the guy to do it. He's dealt with adversity his whole life and we have to trust in the doctors at that point and they said it wouldn't be an issue. He rounded the corner, his knees feel great and he's ready to go."

Bottom line: Given what he's seen from his undefeated champion, Longo isn't going to go back on the notion his guy will win via finish.

"I'm going to go back to what he said: ‘Give me a full camp and I'll finish the fight,'" Longo said. "He's had a full camp. I'm sure he's going to finish the fight."