UFC middleweight champion Chris Weidman cemented his status as the best 185-pounder at UF C 175, in a thrilling five round affair against Lyoto Machida. The former light-heavyweight champion had his divisional streak snapped by ‘The All-American’ and was added to the growing list of legends that Weidman has conquered.
Now eyeing a potential match with Vitor Belfort, Weidman’s coach Ray Longo stopped by to talk with MMAJunkie.com, discussing the top three opponents for The All-American’ to take on next:
“I think the three top guys would probably be Souza, Rockhold and (Belfort)… if that guy can ever get his act together, I think this guy’s living in a different universe at this point. I don’t care what happens. Chris Weidman is for real. He’s a great fighter. He’s going to be around for a long time, as long as he can stay injury free. Look, he got Lyoto Machida. (Quinton) ‘Rampage’ Jackson couldn’t do that to him; Dan Henderson couldn’t do that to him; Rashad Evans couldn’t … you know what I mean?”
The middleweight division has changed so much in the last year, and it seems crazy that UFC 162 was more than 12 months ago now. Weidman, as predicted by the Serra-Longo team, is still champ after his second title defense. There are, however, plenty more serious threats that cannot be ignored. At this point, it would be hard to argue against ‘The Phenom’ getting the next crack at the belt, even with all the TRT drama.
Longo then moved on to the subject of Weidman’s UFC 175 decision win over ‘The Dragon’:
“I thought after third round, Lyoto was breaking and it was just going to get worse,” Longo said. “But to Lyoto’s credit, he really put everything he had into that fight. He did a great job, too. He’s a class act. He’s great for the sport. I thought that fight was just phenomenal for everybody. (Weidman has) got heart, determination and a belief in himself. Matt said afterward that you’re remembered for your wars, and I think this fight was a good one for the both of them. He’s a legend slayer at this point,”
The doubt that was cast on Weidman’s legitimacy after UFC 162 & 168 seems to be a distant memory, and quite rightly so. The bout against Machida was no walk in the park, and ‘The All-American’ had to survive adversity when he was wobbled by the Karate master late on. So can the quiet kid from Baldwin, New York continue his rise by living up to his moniker of ‘legend slayer’, or will guys like Belfort, Jacare and Souza capitalize on the weaknesses that Machida exposed?