The long-rumored, oft-discussed Middleweight title fight between champion Anderson Silva and number one contender Chris Weidman has finally been made official today. Confirmed for the headliner of UFC 152, the fight will quiet many of the critics who called for Silva to defend his 185 lb. title sooner than later. 

However, it will be cause to anger those wanting him to wait for a superfight with Jon Jones or Georges St-Pierre. Those two fighters had bouts lined up in April and March, respectively, so The Spider will return to the Octagon on July 6th in Las Vegas. The event was confirmed by Newsday.

For Weidman, it will be an incredibly tough return to the cage as he remains on the mend from shoulder surgery that forced him to withdraw from his UFC 155 bout with Tim Boetsch. But this is the fight that he has campaigned heavily for, so we’ll soon see if his style is truly the one to hand Anderson Silva his first defeat in the UFC. The young contender spoke up:

"Dream come true. 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."

I think that this is a great bout, and obviously one that had to happen sooner or later. I also think that Weidman, although undefeated and hugely talented, could have used a tune-up bout to gauge his readiness to face the UFC’s most dominant champion. When July rolls around and he walks into the cage to face Silva, he will have been off for nearly an entire year, last facing Mark Munoz on July 11, 2012. 

That is no small factor to consider when fighting arguably the greatest of all time. It’s probably safe to say that Wediman will open as a substantial underdog, and for obvious good reason. Will he silence the critics this summer?